Home Remodeling – Obligations and Expectations with a California General Contractor

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With real estate fluctuating heavily, many would-be remodeling contractors are trying to drum up extra business by offering steep discounts to homeowners. There truly are no discounts in construction. A typical sham is to offer one, but the prices are set high to offset the fake discount. Profit margins for reputable contractors are competitive and tight, with little wiggle room. These types of sales techniques are usually reflective of skeptical business practices of desperation.

Sometimes remodeling contractors in southern California even disappear once the deposit check has been cashed. Some homeowners are just too eager to get to the end result of a finished product and they don’t properly plan or prescreen the contractors. Remember…California State Law allows only a 10% deposit on the cost of construction with a maximum of $1,000. Being asked for more is a red flag. Further, payments for construction should directly relate to value of completed construction. At no time should contractor payments be way ahead of the completed work.

While the contractor is obligated to provide quality work, it is your obligation as a homeowner in California to protect the value of your investment.

Above all else, research the job before you start. Avoid just asking a general contractor if they’re licensed and how much they charge. Really dig into the work they do – like asking if they’ve ever filed for bankruptcy under any company name in California.

Another part of proper research and planning is to clearly lay out your expectations for a job. Most Los Angeles homeowners that are dissatisfied with the final finished design in a remodel are upset because it doesn’t match what they envisioned. In many cases, their expectations were set well above what could actually be delivered within their budget. Communication and setting appropriate expectations can help you avoid this.

If you have any concerns during the course of a project you should raise them immediately. Bring documented concerns to the attention of the general contractor.

Documentation will let you clearly state via notes what areas are not meeting the expectations you set forth when you hired the general contractor for the job. Promptly addressing the issue can ensure that the project stays on tasks, that issues are immediately corrected, and that you will be happy with the finished project.