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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Secrets to finding a good handyman for your reno

The housing market is anticipated to experience an upturn in 2013, so it is certain that many home owners and real estate investors will start looking to renovate, add property value and put their houses on the market in the upcoming months. As there are always some jobs that simply require a professional, the following is a guide to what home owners should look for when hiring a handyman.

Before getting started, it is a necessity to decide what type of professional you are looking for. A handyman is very different from a general contractor. Neither are required to have a specific trade license, but a contractor is hired to find a variety of licensed tradespeople. If the job is larger and in need of professionals of varying skills, it is likely better to hire a contractor. For small jobs, a handyman is likely the way to go. Talk to friends, family or neighbours for recommendations, or check Home Builders Association websites for "RenoMark" contractors, who are members of the Canadian Home Builders Association and must adhere to their code of ethics and conduct. If you're hiring a contractor, it is a good idea to ask for at least three references. If the contractor is licensed, ensure it is not expired, and ask if they have insurance coverage. If the contractor is not insured, you can either request they purchase temporary insurance or go to a lawyer and draft a general release to ensure they understand they are responsible for any damage and / or accidents on your property. This releases you from any liability.

If you hire someone based on a referral, it is a good idea to ask a few questions before accepting their recommendation, including what jobs they performed, if they started and finished on time and on-budget, if there were any issues, if the referrer would use their services again and if they are receiving some sort of compensation by referring the professional. It is recommended to interview three potential candidates and ask for estimates from each. That said, it is always important to set aside a little extra to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

The contractor will provide you with a detailed contract, which should include not only a detailed description of the work that needs to be done, but also permits, supplies, commencement and completion dates, terms of payment and a payment schedule, insurance details, legal information, dispute resolution and warranty information. The contract is vitally important, as it sets the expectations for the contractor or handyman. If there is any requirement for clarity at any time, it is in writing and can be referred to.

Click here for the full article from the Globe and Mail.

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