So, you have decided it is time to improve your home, maybe adding a porch or finishing off the space over the garage into a family room.
You can be "lucky" if you are in step with a few basics in hiring home improvement contractors.
1. Licensing. If the project will run over $30,000, a North Carolina general contractor will need to be licensed. Or you can serve as your own general contractor, if you are comfortable directing and scheduling subcontractors, and gathering materials. Check out licensed general contractors at the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. If you meet someone who says, "We can get around it by breaking the contract into two smaller jobs," beware. You are probably talking to someone without the skill or financial strength to earn the GC license.
2. Insurance. Make sure your contractor has General Liability Insurance, and Workers Compensation insurance for everyone who will come to your home. You don't want to pay massive medical bills out of pocket if there is an injury on your property. Your homeowners insurance company won't pay those bills. Request that proofs of insurance be sent to you direct from the insurance company or agency. That way you will know that they are current.
3. Permits. You need a permit for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structural work. No permit? No value added to the home at time to sell. Or you may have a painful process ahead of you to get the municipality to permit and approve the project after it is finished. Just get the permits, and be "lucky."
We currently have an epidemic of homes without proper permitting of improvements on the market. agents are looking for this issue, and it hurts the value and sale of homes when corners have been cut. You can check a property to see if a permit has been pulled in Wake County, NC at the Wake County Tax website.
You do not need a permit for simple roof replacement, siding installation or replacement, window replacement, or similar maintenance items.
4. Get it all in writing, with as much detail as possible. Many misunderstandings start with a handshake and build from there.
With a few basic steps, you can feel more comfortable, and ready to handle the surprises and unforeseen complications that arise in most worthwhile projects.