How to Hire a Contractor

Part of being a good Realtor is having the right resources for your clients. As a Realtor you are typically the first person buyers and sellers call when something needs to be fixed or upgraded within their home. As my calls increased for an assortment of home improvement specialist so did the calls for several other business types.  Over the years I have made a conscious effort to keep a running list of as many home improvement contacts as I can. Like-wise I have other businesses that refer constantly.

What is important in a home improvement contractor?

So many people get turned off when a contractor doesn’t take your call immediately. But think about that for a moment…most actually work the field. They are under decks, lifting HVACs , climbing on roofs, hanging drywall, etc. I most cases, expect to call a contractor a few times and be sure to LEAVE A VOICEMAIL. A good contractor for any service is hard to find, so kill them with kindness.

The #1 characteristic that I value the most is weather the contractor is familiar with the area and type of house.

There are contractors that do very well in new constructed homes.
ex. Some painters do better when they can use sprayers. If floors aren’t installed, which is usually a newly constructed home or a home with major renovations; they can use sprayers to paint. It allows them to cover a lot of wall square footage in a quick timeframe and very cost affective.

There are some contractors that truly understand the quarks of a 100 year old row home.
ex. The plumbing on Baltimore City row homes have certain characteristics that townhouses build in the 1990’s just don’t. Finding contractors that don’t need to research older homes is key. When a plumber can already tell me the problem before I finish explaining, it’s music to my ears. When they can tell me where the house ties into the city lines, it always reassures me.

There are some contractors that specialize in certain areas.
ex. Anne Arundel County is known for having Polybutylene Pipes, that failed dramatically. If you are buying a home in Anne Arundel County and you hire a home inspector that doesn’t know about this type of pipe, how are you supposed to get an accurate report?

Some contractors have such good expert knowledge in their field, I feel comfortable referring them anywhere.
ex. the master electrician I refer clients to no matter if they have an old city row home, a detached home in the county, or a condo. He has been doing this for so long that I trust his expertise in any sort of home or age of the home. 

Here are the contractors and other businesses that I refer the most:

HOME REPAIR:

  1.        Flooring: Wood Floors Plus – Steve Cratch –  410-636-9663  http://www.woodfloorsplus.com/
  2.        Electrician: Magothy Electric – 410-439-0088 http://www.magothyelectric.com/
  3.        Painter: Seneca Painting  – 443-992-1245
  4.        Decks: Tom McCleary – 410-236-9274
  5.        HVAC: Air Source, Inc – 443-605-5100  http://www.airsourceinc-hvac.com/
  6.        Pest Control: Defend Pest – 410-633-9100  http://www.marylandpest.com/index.html
  7.        Home Inspection: Home Sweet Home Inspections – Ryan Siegler – 301-390-HOME
  8.        Pool / Spas: NOVA Builders – Mark  (builder) & Tom (inspector) 410-766-1770
  9.        General Repairs: American Home & Property Services – Lisa Heisey – 443-613-6973  lisa.heisey@amresinc.com
  10.        Pier & Bulkhead Build/Repair: Chesapeake Pile Driving, Inc – Todd "Gator" Scott – 443-604-8451
  11.        Windows/Siding/Roofing: Horizon Construction Co. Inc – Steve – 410-256-6561

***Contact me for others*** 

LEGAL & FINIACIAL: 

  1.        Lending/Refi: Coastal Lending Group – Jon Vitak – 410-276-3404  http://www.clgroup.biz/
  2.        RE Attorney (Short Sales, Estates, Landlord/Tenant, etc): Heise & Heise LLP – 410-276-1983  http://www.heiselegal.com/
  3.        Home & Auto Insurance: Jim Himes  – 443-837-2071
  4.        Title Attorney: Capitol Title – Chris Sadler – 410-465-2437
  5.        Commercial Lending: Susquehanna Bank – Sidney Minor – 410-539-0636  sidney.minor@susquehanna.net

OTHER…(cause I always get these questions)

  1.        Auto Mechanic: Hamilton Goodyear – 410-426-2220  http://www.hamiltongoodyear.com/
  2.        Social Media/Advertising: Savin Media Consulting – 443-742-5012  www.savinconsulting.com
  3.        Personal Trainer: Nick Strong (at Merritt Athletic Clubs) – nickstrong410@gmail.com
  4.        Hair Stylist: West End Studio: Victoria Kidd – 443-682-7631
  5.        Tax Accountant: Marty Peltzer – 410-526-0327
  6.        Business Accounting Advisor: BLK Accounting & Consulting LLC – Kelly Black – 443-310-1106  kelly@blkaccounting.com
  7.        Financial Planner: Celestial Weath Management – Colin Exelby – 443-438-7211
  8.        Financial Planner: Northwestern Mutual – Jason Bell – 410-659-6055
  9.        Event / Wedding Planner: Lemon and Lime Event Design – Katey Clark – 330-730-8407   Katey@lemonandlimeevent.com
  10.    Movers: Perry Movers – Sam Perry – 443-472-1565

How to hire a contractor checklist:

o   Do you need someone with an MHIC (Maryland Home Improvement Commission) license?

o   Is your quote/estimate free?

o   Can the company itemize your quote?

o   Is the quote an estimate or is it a final total?

o   Has the contractor done anything similar in the area?

o   Is the person that came out to do the quote the same person who will be on site during construction?

o   Will they be hiring sub-contractors in order to complete your project?

o   Will they guaranty a completion date?

o   Is there a deposit due before they start?

o   Does the company warranty their work for a year?

Hope you have found this helpful! Don’t hestitate to contact me with questions or contractors that you would like to recommend! 

Suzie Coronel – Realor

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