- How real-life renovation is different from HGTV (Part 2)
Anyone who watches “reality” TV knows that there are elements of fantasy mixed in with reality. After all, there has to be enough drama to keep you interested in staying through the commercial breaks and move along fast enough that it covers everything important in its allotted time spot (which is about 42 minutes once you’ve taken off time for advertising).
That’s part of the reason why HGTV shows make home renovation look quicker and simpler than it really is. In the previous article, Forbes.com contributor Ian Altman explained his nightmarish experience with a general contractor who signed a contract and immediately started complaining he wasn’t earning any money. Unfortunately, his troubles didn’t end there, and yours might not either.
The disappearing electrician
After firing his general contractor, Altman was left with the task of finding and hiring an electrician who’s prices would fit within his budget. He selected an electrician named Jason who settled on a fixed price for the project and plans moved forward, for once.
However, with just a day or two left of work left, Jason mysteriously vanished from the job site and didn’t return for several days. Altman recounted, “I asked him when he would return to complete the work. . . . Five times he failed to show up as promised.” Finally, Jason admitted he was too busy with a commercial project he’d landed and further explained, “I’m done with houses anyway. It’s way too much hassle for zero money.”
A contractor is bound to his contract
So what’s your takeaway from all this? First of all, realize it isn’t your problem if a contractor signs a contract with an agreed-upon price and then complains about it later. If they didn’t feel it was worth their time, they shouldn’t have agreed to do the work in the first place. Do your homework to find out how much the project should cost and then ask several contractors to submit bids. And remember, you’ll get what you pay for.
Get referrals before hiring anyone
Second, when looking for contractors, ask around for referrals, read online reviews, and take everything you hear with a grain of salt. A drawback of online reviews is that people tend to only post extreme viewpoints—you’ll see little middle ground or neutral feedback. Personal referrals from people you know well are the best kind to go by, especially if you’re able to visit the person to see the contractor’s finished product. Don’t rely on the pictures on the contractor’s website as proof of the kind of work he’s done. If a contractor turns out to be fraudulent or unreliable, some of the blame will go to you for hiring him.
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Tags: renovation, HGTV, hiring an electrician, general contractor, budget, home renovation, contract, contractor referrals
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