6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Remodeling Contractor

Posted on:  March 4, 2022

You’ve asked friends and family for recommendations on the best home remodeling contractors in New Jersey. You’ve scoured home contractor referral websites and have dozens of options. How will you decide on the best remodeling contractor for your own home remodel? When choosing a contractor for your own project, there are important factors and next steps to consider

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Remodeling Contractor


1. Review Their Portfolio

As you begin to amass a list of recommended contractors, the next concern will be the style and type of projects the contractor has completed. Ask to see a portfolio of completed projects, which will likely be on their website. Even when this is the case, there may be more examples of renovations available upon request. A contractor’s prior work will tell you whether they will be a good fit for your specific project. Do you have a historic home? Will shoring be involved? How much of the home will be remodeled? Will the location play a factor? Your specific project needs will shape what skills you will need from your contractor. When you choose a contractor who has ample experience with projects in New Jersey that align with your own, you can be more confident in their expertise in the nuances of your home remodel. 

Once you’ve reviewed their prior work, check online reviews. Reviews will give you more information about the process than photos of a finished project. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to inquire about their reputation for professionalism, how many years they’ve been in business, and other useful information


2. Communication 

The communication between you and your contractor will be pinnacle throughout the duration of your project. From the moment design begins through the last items on the punch list being completed. When interviewing a possible contractor, pay attention to their communication style and avenues. How thoroughly do they answer questions? Do they have follow-up questions in an effort to maximize clarity on all sides? Do they prefer email, phone, or a combination? Are they open to a virtual consultation? Communication actually began when you scheduled the interview. Did they have to reschedule several times? Were they slow to respond?

Aside from communication style, think ahead to the logistics of communication during the project. Keeping an open line of communication with your builder will ensure no concerns will go unanswered and that clear documentation of what’s been discussed is available. Many programs are available to facilitate this type of ongoing and consistent communication. During the interview, be sure to ask what type of program to which you should expect access. 


3. Design-Build Firms

Some contractors work with designers and architects directly. Some may have recommendations but don’t have an in-house designer. Those who work with an in-house designer or an architect are best suited to work on your home remodel. This is true for several reasons. Because every part of the designing and building team is already under one roof, you are alleviated from having to go through the interview and hiring process more than once. 

Furthermore, every part of the home remodel process will be through one company. The design, architectural drawings, and construction process will be with professionals who’ve already worked with one another and already have lines of communication in place. This also means that when something needs to change, whether it’s an engineering issue in the design or a change order for material substitution, your design-build team can work more seamlessly, quickly, and efficiently to correct course and keep the project moving forward.

Remodeler Contractors Talking in Front of a House Being Build


4. Price 

The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” rings true and is especially important for something as significant as your home. If a low bid seems too good to be true, it likely is. Within a region, labor is going to be fairly consistent across different contractors and their crews. The real difference in price comes from materials costs. If you choose a contractor for their lowest bid, you will likely be dealing with low-quality materials. Low-quality materials could pose several problems and you could be dealing with home repairs or replacements sooner than expected.

Another reason a contractor may give you a notably low bid is if they lack the competency or skills of other contractors. Home remodeling shows might make projects look less complicated than they truly are in real life. In reality, they are quite complex and often require years of education and experience to execute properly. Even if you’ve already reviewed their portfolio of completed work, perhaps asking for tours of projects currently underway in New Jersey will alleviate the concern for poor quality work. 


5. License and Insurance

Don’t assume every builder, even those that come recommended, is sufficiently insured and licensed to work in New Jersey. A license and insurance prove that a contractor is knowledgeable and credible. Building and remodeling a home requires an immense amount of code and systems knowledge. A New Jersey license is one of several boxes you can check to ensure a contractor is qualified to work on your project. Ask for a license number and use the New Jersey government website for verification of legitimacy.

Contractors should also have insurance to cover the possibility of an injury or damages. If they don’t you could be liable. A fallen worker, fallen debris on your car, or damage to your neighbor’s home would be the contractor’s liability, as long as they have coverage. Just as with their license number, ask about proof of insurance. 


6. Legal Disputes

Put simply, is a prospective contractor currently involved in any legal disputes? If they have or if they currently are, you will need to gather more information. The dispute may be due to faulty materials, improper installation, a dispute over damages, the list continues. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to be sure, which is something that could also be done at the very beginning of your search.


Consult With a Trusted Contractor

At JMC Home Improvement Specialists, we strive to give homeowners a positive remodeling experience. We are committed to providing the level of communication you need to feel confident about your choice of a home remodeling contractor. Contact JMC to schedule a virtual or in-person consultation

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