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How to Find the Right Contractor For Your Home Renovations

Many homeowners are adding sunrooms, dens, extra bedrooms and/or bathrooms to their homes instead of moving to a larger house. Within the last several months the State Department of Consumer Affairs has investigated and issued Notice of Violations against dozens of contractors as a result of complaints from residents throughout the state. The most egregious violations can result in thousands of dollars in penalties. Therefore, there are several steps that all homeowners should take when looking for a contractor to ensure that they are protecting their own interests in the construction process.

First, prior to hiring a contractor, the homeowner should confirm that the contractor is registered with the State of New Jersey in accordance with the Contractor's Registration Act. A homeowner should also confirm that the registration has not expired, been suspended or been revoked. The Contractor's Registration Act requires every registered contractor to have to proper registration number. If your contractor cannot provide a number that has the prefix 13VH, then the homeowner should access the State website for Community Affairs to review the list of contractors who are presently facing Notices of Violations prior to hiring them. Additionally, that registration number ensures that the contractor has the proper liability insurance. A homeowner may request to see proof of the contractor's insurance or even request that a copy of proof of insurance be attached to the contract for services. This number should be predominately displayed on the contractor's vehicles, advertisements, estimates and/or contracts.

Secondly, the homeowner should always have a written estimate/contract which is as detailed as possible. The contract must be signed by the contractor and should be as specific as necessary, i.e., specifying the work to be done, the type of materials to be used and a time period to begin the work, as well as an estimated completion date. It is also very important to discuss with the contractor who will obtain any necessary permits. The homeowner should call the local building department officials in their town to confirm whether a permit is necessary.

Finally, the homeowner should request references and contact those homeowners who have had work done by this contractor. The homeowner will find that important information, such as professionalism, cleanliness, workmanship and timeliness, is extremely useful in choosing a contractor.

Many homeowners do not want to interfere or impose on a professional working on their home, but remember it is your home and yourmoney, so ask questions. If there is something that is not done to the homeowner's liking, discuss it with the contractor before they leave the home. Getting a contractor to come back to replace or repair something may be more difficult than anticipated.

Of course, if there is a situation where a contractor leaves without completing a job or does not complete the project in a workmanlike manner, the homeowner can contact the Law Firm of R.C. Shea & Associates to protect their rights.