Platinum Realty 10 Questions To Ask A Contractor

Are you planning a full kitchen renovation, bathroom renovation, basement remodel, or an entire home addition?

Choosing the right contractor for your home renovation project isn’t something you should take lightly. 

Lack of skill, botched work, ridiculously long delays – we have all heard these horror stories about renovations gone seriously wrong.

Renovating your home can be an enormous financial investment.

Comprehending what’s in store before the venture begins will assist you with planning better for the process.

Recruiting the correct contractor can have an effect between your venture being a triumph or a bad dream. 

Tamika Todd, broker with Platinum Realty, is here to assist you before you get started with your project.

Here are the top 10 questions to ask your contractor when renovating a home that will save thousands of dollars down the road. 


It’s significant that your contractor can take care of the expenses related to any mishaps that happen while working on your major project. In the event that a potential contractor is uninsured, you may want to pass on them, especially if you are seeking to do major renovations. You’ll expect obligation for their wellbeing, and that is a position you would prefer not to be in. It’s imperative to recollect that being authorized isn’t equivalent to being insured. 

General liability insurance shields your home from harm or carelessness of the contractor, his representatives, and any temporary workers brought onto your property. Oppose the impulse to trust your contractual worker; it’s sad, however, the reward is not worth the risk. Secure your risk and get a genuine peaceful feeling by asking to see a copy of your contractor’s insurance certificate and make certain to check the termination dates. You can likewise call the issuing authority and confirm the insurance is legitimate.


Some general contractors may not be acquainted with your area and the particular codes identified with your property. For instance, if you live in a region that is populated with an enormous number of listed/heritage homes, you may confront limitations on the kind of renovations you’re permitted to make. 

While not a major issue, it helps if your contractual worker knows about local construction regulation and the permitted process.



Various contractors may offer options with regard to installment payments; and, various alternatives may work better for your circumstance. In any case, never pay for the work completely before the job’s completion and investigation. It is common that a reasonable initial installment is due; however, customers ought to work with an installment plan attached to such advancement and should keep the last installment until the job is finished to your satisfaction.


Will the site be cleaned at the end of every day? Or, on the other hand, is it your obligation to tidy up at the end of the project? Even more, define ‘clean’.  Make certain to concur on the procedure in order to stay away from strife with your contractor.

Ensure there is an understanding of any dirty work that must continue during the activity. For instance, if mudding and sanding are required on drywall or pouring/levelling of concrete for a driveway, there is no way to avoid that there will be mess and residue within the area. Along these lines, make certain to affirm with your contractor the measures taken to abstain from making more chaos than necessary. For example, will they close vents and doorways to prevent dust from entering the home?  Will barriers be placed to prevent concrete in your garden beds?


For ventures with different stages, it is essential to set up a work routine. Afterwards, it’s essential to watch the task’s progression to guarantee everything works out as expected. If there are any issues or postponements, you’ll have the option to talk with the contractor and agree to how to get the ball rolling again and get back on time. Doing such is key; otherwise, your whole project is subject to being postponed. In the event that you won’t be available on the worksite consistently, you’ll have to ensure you stay in contact with the contractor rather often to get updates on the work being finished. Make sure to agree to terms in your agreement that covers any delays in the renovation process – particularly if you’re on a strict timeline.


You likely won’t get a percentage-type answer when you ask this question, but knowing how often projects get completed on time will tell you certain things about the potential contractor. Most contractors may state a high percentage or ‘most of them’ answer.  That may be true.  How do you verify their answer? Ask the references they provided to you if the project was finished on time and, if not, why.


A genuinely professional contractor has a proper contract/agreement on hand for all of their projects. This protects both of you and is simply good judgment. An agreement should detail a reasonable project plan and recognize what you and your contractor have agreed to. An agreement should include the following, at minimum:

  • A full description of the work, including the materials and items to be used. 
  • Dates when the work will begin and be finished. 
  • A reasonable installment plan that spreads out when and the amount you will be charged. 
  • The contractor’s guarantee specifying security. 
  • Affirmation that the contractor has business liability coverage for your project and that necessary Workers’ Compensation coverage is set up.

Note that your general contractor is probably going to enlist subcontractors to get the work done.  Do be aware that your property can be utilized as a guarantee, if at any point, the contractor does not pay the subcontractors. This implies that you may pay for the work twice, if you’re not careful.  So, how will you know that they have been paid?

Each time a subcontractor is recruited, you ought to be notified. Usually, this will be noted in the details of the stages of the project (it may not note the name of the subcontractor but it will include the type of work to be done at such time).  Be sure to follow the stages and make notations of when and how long a subcontractor’s services were enlisted.  Compare with invoices submitted by general contractor.



Learning about the builder’s preferred materials and methods as well as their warranty services highlights their level of expertise and professionalism.

  • What methods and materials do you commonly use?
  • Will you follow up on warranty issues should we have any issues after the project is completed?

You want a contractor who is knowledgeable about renovation for your specific-type of project.  Their answer to this question is a good indicator of decisions they’ve made in past projects and the minimum level of quality they provide on any project. You don’t need to be an expert on the materials yourself, but the builder should be able to communicate the reasons behind the selections clearly.

How warranty issues are handled should be outlined within the agreement.   Expecting the contractor to address issues that extend outside of the warranty or even many months after a project has been completed, is a bit much.  Prior to the end of a project, you may want to request the names and contact details for materials used from your contractor so you may address warranty issues personally, in such cases.  Windows, doors, appliances, are good examples.



A termination clause is an agreement that permits either party, contractor OR you, to end the agreement, based on terms the two of you have agreed to.  For example, if you choose not to pay the contractor anymore, the contractor may leave the project without penalty from you.  


CAUTION: Some contractors declare bankruptcy and open a new company under a different legal name. Hence the importance of asking them how long their business has existed. Being cautious never hurt anybody!


Home renovations can be as energizing – and overwhelming – as setting out travelling to an unknown land; yet, you don’t need to go into it aimlessly. Home renovations can expose homeowners to major risk – especially if they do not understand the ins and outs of the process.

Save yourself some headaches.  Ask the above questions; they will not take long.  The answers given by each contractor you interview should help you to make more knowledgeable decisions and select the right contractor for you and your project before you start.


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