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Contractors: Tips, Tricks, and What to Avoid

Mt Pleasant Contractor and Property Owner Shaking HandsOne of the biggest challenges in investing in Mt Pleasant single-family rental properties is hiring capable, reliable contractors for your property improvements and repairs. When hiring contractors, investors will always prefer those who can provide high-quality work over those who can’t deliver. A good thing, though, is that you can avail of the best contractors on the market, by just following a few simple tips and tricks.

As a property owner, getting good contractors is essential to getting good work done. Tap into the pool of industry professionals who are ready to be hired to do great work!  In doing so, you can be cost-efficient. But to find contractors you can build long-term business relationships with, you first need to do your research. If you know some trusted real estate agents, property managers, or even property owners, it would be wise to seek their counsel regarding contractors and whatnot. You can also research potential contractors online. Some websites can vet contractors through customer reviews or even professional recommendations.

Another piece of advice would be this: don’t count out referrals. They’re a good place to start when searching for great contractors. Quality contractors usually have a good track record. They would be glad to give you the names of previous clients who can attest to their services. Once you get a name, be sure to ask specific questions about the contractor’s reliability, cost, responsiveness, and flexibility. Was there a thorough discussion before agreeing upon a price? If concerns and changes were brought to the table, were they open to it? If you aren’t satisfied with the answers to these questions, keep looking.

Once you have several potential contractors vetted, ask them to give you a bid. The bid will provide you with something of an overview as to how much to pay for the work and an idea of how the contractor calculates their rates. Though tempting, the lowest bid, especially when it is significantly lower than most of the offers, might be suspicious. Don’t immediately go for it. Some contractors bait clients into going for very low bids at a low price, only to surprise them with additional charges later on. This could also be telling of a contractor who has no plans of obtaining required work permits. Make it a point to examine details so as not to overpay for your contractor’s work. Aim for the middle bid, which will likely be the most realistic.

While making your inquiries, be aware of potential warning signs: suspiciously low rates, or even bad customer reviews online.  Check with your state licensing board and search local court records for your contractor’s name. Contractors who don’t have a license shouldn’t even be entertained since hiring them could make your rental property a serious liability. A large number of complaints or lawsuits are problematic.  Just as it is a bad sign when the contractor doesn’t answer the phone or respond to messages. While a few missed phone calls are not a sure sign of trouble, if more than 24 hours pass without a response, move on.

Keep your eyes peeled for other warning signs that might present themselves during the bidding process. If and when a contractor asks you to deposit a large sum upfront, that should cause you to be suspicious. Anything more than 15% should be cause for concern. It should also be questionable when a contractor speaks of the need for unlimited time and materials or makes big promises about how much they can do within a specific timeframe. In your search for a contractor who is both effective and efficient, don’t forget to set your project costs and completion times realistically.

Seeking the right contractors for your investment property improvements and repairs can take a while. But when you finally find the right contractor who can get the job done, your property management strategy will be smooth sailing.  Can’t be bothered? Not a problem. At Real Property Management Distinguished Care, we make sure you can still achieve the things you want to. Allow us to do the work for you. Please contact us online or call us at 828-342-9683 to learn more about how we can serve you.

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