Monday, April 18, 2005

How To Choose A Wenatchee Building Contractor

Here are a couple of articles I recently read regarding how to choose and work with a contractor for building a new home... or remodeling an existing home. Thought you might find it useful.

The 10 Most Important Rules of Choosing and Dealing With a Contractor
by: Razmik "Raz" Vartanian
Building your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare of unmet schedules, cost over runs, shabby workmanship and endless arguments.
I have been originating and closing construction loans for a good number of years now and I have experienced clients dumping contractors and even contractors dumping clients. By that time in most cases the job is running behind schedule and over budget. Choosing a new contractor at this stage is difficult and further delays are inevitable.
Spending a little more time and paying a little more attention to the process of choosing your contractor can avoid all this.
In most cases the writing is on the wall from the very first day, but wishful thinking gets in the way of logic, which leads to disaster down the road.
A good number of articles have been written on the subject, and you should try reading at least one or two well before making your choice of a contractor.
This article is based on my experience and personal observations. You may whish to write the main points down and add others that I have not covered and indeed add to the list from your own experience of dealing with people. This way you will internalize the subject and become a naturally better judge of those you do business with.
During the processing of your construction loan, some information is collected from the contractor but that should not stop you from your due diligence. Here is a list of items to check and to look out for:
1- If your state requires a state license, ask for the number. Don’t stop at that. Call the relevant state board and check on the license’s status. You don’t know who regulates contractors in your state? Ask Him/Her. And pay attention to the reaction.
There is no need to be shy. A legitimate and honest businessman will have no problem providing the information. We are involved in a highly regulated business and we proudly provide the relevant information along with phone numbers and links to the state bodies on our About Us page.
2- Ask for references. Pay attention to the reaction. Too quick a reaction and fast talk is probably a lie and a bluff. Too cautious a reaction is a sign of uncertainty. In any event write the names and numbers down and do call them. Go see them. Most people will actually welcome you simply to show off their achievement.
3- Are you building a home from the ground up? Make sure the contractor has built a complete project in the past. Experience counts; a ground up construction or a major remodel is a very different animal from room and bathroom additions.
4- Visit his/her place of business. Not all contractors have an office, but you need to make sure you are not dealing with fly-by-night operation.
5- Your construction loan package will include paper work for the contractor to complete. How does he handle that? The following is a list of warning signs.
Doesn’t have the time to complete the lender’s line item cost breakdown and insists on using his own.
Doesn’t understand why the lender should be asking for credit references.
Doesn’t see why the construction loan lender should need to see the construction contract?
Insists that in his experience non of the above are necessary and that this lender don’t know anything about construction loans.
6- Be wary of the contractor who prefers to give a “complete package” price. No construction lender will accept that and neither should you. The line item cost breakdown does not have to be completed on every single line, but the more the merrier. Read it carefully, it will dictate the quality of the home you end up with.
7- Demand a material’s list. You don’t need the contractor who doesn’t have the time for this. Some lenders don’t require this and when they do little attention is paid to it.
Insist on a complete list of all materials and fixtures. Go to the showrooms, choose them and list your choices by make, model and /or quality. This list should be signed by the contractor and you and be made a part of the contract.
Saying “A good kitchen will cost so many dollars per foot” doesn’t mean much when you go to the showroom at the end of the project only to find out that you hate what the construction loan budget has allowed for.
8- As a part of the construction loan process the contractor will be asked to provide evidence of Liability Insurance as well as evidence of Workman’s compensation.
He/She may very well not have Workman’s Compensation Insurance if he/she does not directly employ anyone. However, complaints about Liability Insurance are a sure sign of trouble.
9- As material costs are rising, payment of deposits on some deliveries may be required by suppliers and some construction loans will allow that. But be aware of the contractor who asks for up front money.
10- Construction loan disbursements are made in stages. Never ever pay a contractor before your local county or city inspector has signed off on that stage. The lender’s inspector only verifies percentage of completion not compliance, so his approval does not mean that your local authorities will also sign off.

Razmik “Raz” Vartanian
Construction Loans for Residential Properties.
Expert Advice and Prompt Service.

About The Author
Razmik “Raz” Vartanian is a mortgage broker with some 20-years experience in the industry. Raz specializes in residential construction loans and as such is quoted in MSN’s Money Central ( and The Los Angeles Times.
Raz currently manages a mortgage company and is the Webmaster of
Razmik “Raz” Vartanian Construction Loans for Residential Properties. Expert Advice and Prompt Service. 800-246-2468
All Rights Reserved

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Choosing a Home Construction or Remodeling Contractor by:
George Stevens
Choosing the right Contractor is the most important aspect of any home construction project. You must take your time and do your research to find a good qualified contractor if you want excellent quality at a fair price. When we built our new home we spent many hours finding the best contractors for each aspect of building our new home. We developed a method that served us well and it is as follows:

Determine exactly what you want done and write it down. This may sound a little basic at first blush, but it is so important. Remember what is not well defined is easily manipulated. If it is not in writing, it can be disputed. You do two things when you define your project in detail, and in writing. You find any missing aspects that you may have overlooked and you have good definition and expectations for your contractor.

Get three (3) bids for each trade that you will hire. Never rely on one bid, and always meet the contractor face to face at the site where the work is to be done. If you are uncomfortable with the contractor when they are bidding the job how is it going to be when the two of you have to work out the details of your project. Remember cheaper is not always better!

Ask each contractor for references and make sure they are bonded and insured. Check their references and call the BBB (Better Business Bureau) in your area to see if they have any outstanding complaints.

Make sure they don’t sub the work out to a contractor that is not insured or bonded. It is very common for a contract company to sub out work to contractors that are not insured and bonded. Another danger of the contractor subbing work out is if they don’t pay their sub, the sub can put a mechanics lien on your house and you will have to pay even if you have already paid the contractor.

Set a definite timeframe for the work to begin and for completion and get it in writing. Nothing is worse than to have a project drag on not knowing when they are going to show up and finish.
Never, ever pay for the entire project in advance. If you do the contractor has no incentive to finish or even start. When you no longer have the money you are no longer in control! It is customary with most contractors that you pay a portion up front. On a large project hold back as much money as you can until the end. The incentive to finish must be motivated by the cash at the end of the project.

For more information on finding and qualifying contractors visit

About The Author
George Stevens is the popular author of the Website teaching you how to build your own home.

Have a great day!
Realtor, ABR, e-PRO, GRI, REI
Serving Wenatchee & Surrounding Areas
Phone: 509-670-7840 * Fax: 419-818-4009

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