NJ Basement Remodeling Consumer Awareness Guide
Hiring a NJ basement remodeling contractor is one of the largest investments most homeowners will make in their homes, so it is important to make the best possible decision for you, your home, and your family when hiring the best contractor for the job. There are many general contractors and other home improvement contractors who are able to remodel basements, but we always recommend that you hire a contractor who specializes in refinishing basements.
NJ Basement Remodeling Contractors v. General Contractors
Most home improvement contractors will do a fine job with your basement, and if you’re looking for something basic, hiring a contractor that you know and trust should work out for you. However, if your remodeling project is large, complicated, or unique, you probably want to hire a dedicated NJ basement remodeling contractor. There are several reasons for this:
- They will be more familiar with space restrictions, especially when moving furniture and materials in and out.
- They will be familiar with basement moisture issues that plague most basements and they will know the proper steps to take to not only cover up the moisture, but find and eliminate the source of the moisture.
- They will be more familiar with lighting issues and how to design and construct a basement to allow for maximum light and space utilization.
Responsibilities of a Good NJ Basement Remodeling Contractor
A good contractor is an adviser and advocate for the homeowner and coordinates all aspects of the basement refinishing project so you as the homeowner do not get bogged down in details and managing multiple contractors and suppliers.
A good NJ basement remodeling contractor will take care of the following duties:
- He (or she) will work with designers and architects to design your basement and ideally give you several different design options at different price points. From there, you will be able to work with your contractor to choose the right design for your new basement.
- He will be in charge of filing for permits, ensuring that all necessary permits are issued, he will liaise with inspectors and other governing bodies to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
- He will be responsible for obtaining approvals and the Certificate of Occupancy.
- He will be responsible for ordering all materials and inspecting materials for quality prior to installation.
- Prior to completion, a reliable NJ basement remodeling contractor will walk through your home with you to check for any deficiencies and to make sure you are 100% satisfied and delighted with your new basement.
- If necessary, he will propose and manage any change orders that may arise during the course of your project.
Some homeowners attempt to remodel their basements themselves, and it is entirely possible if you know what you’re doing. But it also takes a lot of time and expertise. Besides the obvious benefits to hiring a NJ basement remodeling pro, you get the benefit of not having to deal with the headaches of managing different people, obtaining permits, and the like.
How to Evaluate NJ Basement Remodeling Contractors
Wherever you live, there are doubtless dozens of competent contractors to choose from. When you are evaluating different contractors, it is important that you base your decision on more than price. The good contractors will educate you on the process and provide you with many reasons to base your decision on value rather than lowest price.
You are likely going to be working with your NJ basement remodeling contractor for several months, so it is important that you choose someone that you know, like, and trust. You’ll be interacting with this company on a near daily basis, so the relationship is important. Ultimately, all else being equal, you will probably choose the contractor with whom you feel most comfortable.
Here are some points to consider when evaluating basement refinishing contractors. A good contractor will:
- Answer the phone.
- Return phone and email correspondence in a timely manner.
- Dress professionally.
- Show up when she says she will.
- Communicate clearly.
- Provide a written and detailed quote or estimate.
- Provide proof of license and liability insurance.
- Have a workers compensation insurance policy.
- Follow up without being too pushy.
- Provide previous client references.
- Provide a portfolio of recent basement remodels completed.
- Be able to answer your questions authoritatively and thoroughly.
- Educate you to make the best decision possible, whether that means choosing her company or not.
These are the basic things to look for when evaluating NJ basement remodeling contractors. Don’t waste your time dealing with anyone who doesn’t satisfy every one of these points.
How to Choose the Best NJ Basement Remodeling Contractor
We always recommend that you obtain 3 project quotes from contractors who satisfy the above criteria. The quotes should be as detailed as possible, and if they’re not, don’t be afraid to ask the NJ basement remodeling contractors for more details. You want to be able to compare apples to apples as much as possible.
Make sure you ask these three contractors plenty of questions during your evaluation process. The reality is that you are never going to have the requisite expertise to evaluate them on their quotes alone, so you have to incorporate some subjectivity into your decision-making process. You’ll ultimately choose the contractor who offers a good value and with whom you feel comfortable having in your home on a regular basis for several months.
Here are some questions to ask your potential NJ basement remodeling contractor:
- What is your payment schedule for the project?
- What is your estimated time schedule for the project?
- How do you handle weather and other unexpected delays?
- How many contractors will be in my house on a daily basis?
- How will change orders be handled during the project?
- Do you offer warranty on your work and/or on the products that you install?
- How long have you been working with your subcontractors?
You will learn a lot by asking these questions and listening to the contractor’s answers. Please don’t skip this step.
Final Steps to Hiring a NJ Basement Remodeling Contractor
After you obtain three project quotes and evaluate and interview three different NJ basement remodeling contractors, take a few days to think about your decision. During these few days, try to do as many of the following things as possible:
- Consult with any friends or relatives in the construction business to have them look at the contracts.
- If you are in doubt about anything in the contract, have your attorney review it to ensure that you are not taking on an unfair share of the liability or risk.
- Call the references that the NJ basement remodeling contractor provides.
- Do some online research. Whether we like it or not, online reviews are a big part of every business. Do a Google search and go a couple pages deep.
- If the contractor’s license seems dubious for any reason, you can verify it with the State of New Jersey.
One final recommendation when making your decision – don’t fret over a few hundred dollars here or there. Your new basement is something you will have for many, many years. It’s something that is worth getting right the first time. Ultimately, you want your basement to be a comfortable place for your family and friends to relax and enjoy your home. Five or ten years from now, you’re not going to remember whether you saved a thousand dollars on your NJ basement remodeling project, but you will enjoy how good it looks and feels for decades.
We hope that you found this Consumer Awareness guide for NJ Basement Remodeling Contractors helpful. Feel free to browse for contractors right here on our New Jersey contractor directory. Alternatively, if you would like us to recommend a reliable local contractor or two for you, just let us know on our Contractor Search page. We have a strong network and will do our best to set you in the right direction.