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What to Look for in an Experienced General Contractor

Massachusetts is saturated with wonderful American history. Part of its charm is the historical unique brownstone homes that line the city streets and the picturesque houses that dot the farm land throughout the open space. To preserve or update these beautiful homes some home improvements are often required. Some projects you can do yourself while others may require a skilled general contractor in Boston. But how do you go about hiring the right team for your remodeling or preservation projects? Here is the help you’ve been looking for.

Start with Referrals

Any contractor you talk to is going to tell you that they’re the best. Why wouldn’t they? But to get real, honest referrals from actual customers, start by asking around your own neighborhood if any of your neighbors have had experience with any contractor and if they would recommend them. Look online for professional associations such as the Massachusetts Home Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Associations like these can often find you a highly reputable builder or remodeler in your area. Angie’s List, Google Places, and the Better Business Bureau are also excellent resources for finding a trustworthy and dependable general contractor in Boston.

How Versatile are They?

Another aspect to think about when selecting a crew to work on your home is their versatility. Are they in fact experienced in all things construction or do they specialize in just one aspect such as electricity or masonry? You want a team who can do it all.

  • Kitchen remodeling
  • Bathroom remodeling
  • Floor installation
  • Electrical work
  • Brick work and masonry
  • Plumbing
  • Decks and fences
  • Additions
  • Design and blueprints

If you are fortunate enough to live in one of Boston’s beautiful brownstones you want to seek out contractors who have experience working with older structures. Historic homes often have problems such as uneven floors, old pipes, or out of date electrical wiring. You want to make sure the crew has extensive knowledge of brownstones and can care for them accordingly.

Get the Right Price

Once you have narrowed your choices down to a few contractors, start asking for bids. Let each crew know what remodel, update, or restoration you’re wanting, what your general budget is, and then ask what they can offer you. Ask some of the following questions:

  • Are they willing to work within your budget?
  • Do they offer financing?
  • What warranties do they offer?
  • How soon can they start?
  • How soon can they be finished?
  • Will they take care of getting the building permits or will you?
  • Will they assist you obtaining the other necessary permits and clearances required by the Boston Building Department, Landmarks Commission, and the Boston Historical Society?
  • Do they offer free estimates? (Never pay for an estimate)

Get it in Writing

Once you choose your final general contractor in Boston, be sure to get the estimate of cost and when the project will be completed in writing. Although unexpected costs can arise, make sure that you’re not going to be emptying your bank account for mountains of hidden fees at the close of the project.

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