When you begin to feel like you’re outgrowing your home, a home addition can be a great way to get the space you need without the hassle of buying and moving into a new home. A home addition entails building something onto an existing home. The size of these projects varies, from small bump-outs to create an eating or reading nook to adding an entire second story or basement.
Whether you make a small addition, such as a sunroom, or carry out more extensive work by adding a new master suite or kitchen, renovations can give you a more comfortable space that allows you to enjoy your current home well into the future. It is best to work with a professional to ensure the job is done right the first time.
Choosing A Home Addition Contractor In 5 Steps
When you decide a home addition is the right choice, you will need to hire a contractor with experience in home additions to carry out the work. This type of project is too involved to carry out on your own; professionals ensure all the work is performed safely and properly. Here are five simple steps on how to choose the right home addition contractor for your next project:
1. Compare Each Contractor’s Portfolios And Experience
A big part of the selection process is ensuring the contractor will be able to carry out the work you need to your satisfaction, so you will need to take a look at the portfolios of the contractors you are considering. You should ask each contractor to provide you a portfolio of projects, preferably those that are similar to the type of project that you have in mind.
Some may offer you a physical portfolio, such as a folder with photos of the work they have done, while others may have images on a website. A good portfolio will include photos of the space before the work was carried out as well as during the remodeling and after the project was completed.
Be wary of portfolios that do not contain many projects or have unclear images of the final results. Most home improvement contractors only include their best work in their portfolio, so if the completed projects you see do not meet your standards, keep in mind that their average work may be even worse.
2. Ask For Recommendations To Make An Informed Decision
A great starting point for finding a good contractor is asking for recommendations. Friends and relatives who own homes in your area, particularly those who have had renovations completed recently, can be a great source of recommendations. You can also search online for reviews, although it is important to keep in mind that many review systems can be manipulated.
Look for an overall trend of good reviews rather than basing your decision on one or two outliers, and pay attention to the overall theme of the comments – for example, is their professionalism mentioned frequently? Did a lot of people say the contractor ran over budget? You could also use social media to ask your friends or followers for some local recommendations.
Keep in mind that a reputable contractor will make it easy for you to contact them and will be more than willing to show you examples of the work they have carried out. Be wary of those who do not have basic information available, such as a website, reviews and a social media presence.
3. Check Their Credentials
Once you have narrowed down the list to a few strong contenders, you may be able to refine your list even further by asking those contractors for evidence of their licensing and certification. The legal requirements will vary by state.
In addition to ensuring that they meet your local requirements, inquire about whether they have liability insurance that offers protection in the event that they damage your home while carrying out the work. Request a copy of their insurance policies to ensure they are up-to-date; the contractor and their employees should also be covered by a worker’s compensation policy. Watch out for contractors who hesitate or delay supplying you with this information.
4. Talk To References
A home addition is a significant undertaking, and it is worth taking the time to get in touch with the contractor’s references to perform some due diligence. You will likely be spending thousands of dollars, and in many cases these workers will be entering your home while you are living there.
Reputable contractors will be happy to provide you with a list of references. In fact, they will be expecting you to ask for this and should have a list prepared that includes several jobs along with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the customers.
It is not necessary to call everyone on a long reference list. Instead, choose a few recent projects and a couple of the older ones to contact, and take notes during the call that you can refer to later. Ask whether the contractor was reliable, finished the work on schedule and kept the job site neat. Be sure to find out if the cost was made clear to the customer and how well their work has held up. It is also a good idea to ask how any problems that arose were addressed.
Watch out for references who give a lot of indirect answers or hesitate before answering. A client with a positive experience overall should be generally upbeat when discussing their experience, even if they did have a few smaller problems.
You may want to ask one or two of these references if you can visit their home to see the work in person, especially if you are considering a particularly complicated project and they had similar work done. It is worth visiting at least one finished project from your top two or three contenders. When you visit, look at the work closely and ask if any part of it has needed repairs. Look out for cheap materials or signs of cracking, gaps or staining in the work.
5. Get Bids For The Home Addition
When you have narrowed your search down to a handful of choices, it is time to get bids for your home addition. Ask each contractor to provide you with an estimated cost for the work. This might include a timeline, a list of recommended materials and the project’s total cost.
Although it may be tempting to choose the one that is offering the lowest price, be sure to take into account the quality of the materials and amount of work involved. Consider your overall goals when deciding which proposal is the best match.
This is not a decision that should be rushed. Avoid contractors who pressure you into accepting bids or tell you they are only valid for a very limited time. A quality contractor will give you time to decide and will act professionally if you ultimately decline their bid. Do not sign anything right away.
Speak With A Professional Home Addition Contractor
If you are looking for the ideal contractor for your home addition in Northern Virginia, get in touch with Dirt Connections. Their professional home addition contractors have a proven record of top-quality work and excellent customer service. From small bump outs to new floors, the experts at Dirt Connections can handle all of your home additions needs.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!