Unlike Ashburn homes, the majority of homes in Potomac Falls were built prior to 2000, or a short time after. Besides location being part of its appeal to the northeastern tip of Loudoun County, Potomac Falls has more to offer with its mature trees, community amenities and well established schools.
Nonetheless since their resurrection styles have changed, finished upgrades have changed and heck, even our own tasks have changed. For instance did you know a certain developer has taken a poll from home owners and have determined that the soaking tub in the master bath is no longer appealing to buyers; now they are focusing on larger more upgraded showers.
Throughout the year we are always thinking of new ways we can improve our home. It could be as simple as adding a new lamp or changing out the curtains to the more extensive projects like adding a deck or finally updating the children’s full bathroom upstairs.
Finding a qualified contractor can be a daunting task. These are people you are allowing in your home and trusting in their work. You rely on their ethics as well as their results. I came across 6 great tips to keep in mind when hiring a contractor in a recent issue of the Loudoun-Times Mirror’s Loudoun County Homes section.
1. What is your business history?
You want to ask them how long they have been in business and, more importantly, where they are located. If a business is located far you may not receive the best response time, or will need to wait until they have other business in the area to respond to your request. Also, you should make sure they are licensed and have the proper permits.
2. How much will it cost?
It is always important before a job begins to get a cost estimate. This estimate needs to be broken down by labor and materials, and the costs associated with each. It will help you compare apples to apples when gathering other estimates. Besides, with an itemized list you will also be able to see things you want to eliminate to bring some cost savings to your project.
3. Do your research.
With all of the information that the internet has to offer right at your fingertips, make sure you do your own research. Besides gathering references from them, go on Facebook and ask your neighbors if they have heard of them, or would recommend a specific business. You can also go on Angie’s List or Yelp to see if any reviews have been completed there. It is very important for you to do your own due diligence.
4. Who will be working at my house?
Remember that the people who pitch you are often not the people who are in your home performing the job – they were just the sales rep. Once they pass the buck, the buck is passed. I would ask who will be in my house, who will be here managing them, and how often. Get their work mobile numbers! Also, if there is no project manager then issues can definitely arise between those selling the business to those completing the work.
5. What is the timeline for completion?
Always find out their schedule, start to finish!! Do not feel pushy when asking the detailed questions. There is a process that I once used when completing projects in commercial buildings. From my understanding it is not as popular anymore, but Six Sigma was a great way to structure projects for quality management, and to evaluate cost and risk. This wouldn’t be necessary for your simple projects, like spray washing and staining your decks. But you may want to think of it including some of the qualities of Six Sigma when completing a kitchen renovation.
6. How am I protected?
Make sure you get a warranty for the work completed. Warranties are normally for one year. Some companies like Next Day Blinds have an awesome lifetime warranty. But always remember… no warranty, no guarantee!
With my former property management background I would also recommend meeting with three companies and always getting three quotes.
As a Cascades resident myself, who lives in a home built in 1996, I now understand the importance of finding qualified contractors. I have learned lessons the hard way in the past by not following the 6 tips above!
As a member of The E4Realty Group we have a list of preferred vendors that we have used in the past and have only heard good reviews. This could be the perfect place to start your search!