WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/460705

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Page 23 of 223

one Use a trusted resource When it comes to finding a contractor, it's best to get recommendations from people you know and trust. You need to make sure the contractor you choose is an honest, reliable professional, so start by asking friends and neighbors who they have worked with. Visit websites and find completed projects that are similar to what you have in mind. Once you develop a list of companies, ask each potential contractor for references. Make sure they give you a number of clients they have worked for with projects similar to yours. Call each of the references and don't be afraid to ask tough questions. two Lay the groundwork Hiring a contractor can be an education, so ask lots of questions before you award anyone the job. Do they work with a particular architect or have one on staff? Who will be doing the design work and how will everyone work together? Be sure to ask about timing — how long will your project take? When can they start? Do they guarantee their work? Are they licensed? Do they have liability insurance? Are they using subcontractors? What will their work days/hours be? How will you communicate and how often? And ask about permits. Each town has its own permitting and inspection requirements for resi- dential renovations, but your contractor should be responsible for getting them, not you. Get at least three bids and make sure each contractor includes the same items so you have an accurate comparison. Be suspi- cious of very low bids. three Build a solid contract Once you choose who you want to work with, you need a contract that protects both of you. A good contract should include start and finish dates, a specific scope of work, exclusions, a payment schedule, EPA lead safety certifica- tion for homes built before 1978, licensing and insurance information, a street address and contact information for your contractor (not a Post Office box), and a warranty for the work for at least one year after completion. four Eliminate the guesswork Beyond the contract it's also helpful to keep a notebook or spreadsheet, so you have all the information you need in one place — especially who you've paid what to and when. It's important to get everything in writing, especially up front, when you're negotiating price, since anything you add or change comes at a cost. Also keep an email or correspondence trail to refer back to so there's no question about what you both agreed on. ( H I R I N G A C O N T R A C T O R ) 10 tips for… 22 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 5 You've heard the nightmare home renovation stories: blown budgets, projects that take months longer than they should, expensive re-dos, the list goes on. But hiring a contractor doesn't have to be daunting and stressful. Here are a few tips to help you find a skilled, responsible professional who will work with you to create the home you've always dreamed about. M E D I A B A K E R Y

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