How to Choose a Builder or Remodeler

If you're considering building a new home or remodeling the home you're in now, here's a checklist and important information to help you select your contractor.

Here's a checklist and important information to help you select your contractor.

  • Do they have a permanent business address?
  • Can they provide references?
  • Ask to see their state license or check online at the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth Licensing Division.
  • Do they have current liability insurance and workers compensation coverage? Note: If you hire someone who is unlicensed and/or uninsured you may be held liable for any injuries that occur while working on your property.
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Check with your city building department for any local complaints.
  • Check with your county clerk to make sure there are no civil suits against the contractor.
  • Check with your local home builders association to see if they are a member.*
  • Be sure the estimates specify the total price and the method of payment, the kind and quality of materials to be used and the estimated length of time it will take to complete the work.
  • Make sure you receive a complete, clearly written contract for the work to be done.
  • Do not pay cash up front unless you have a signed valid contract.

*Members of the Home Builders Association have access to the latest industry information through the association sponsored educational programs, Michigan Builder magazine, and the networking that takes place at the conventions, conferences, and general membership meetings. Active members show their commitment and dedication to the industry by donating their time and often their financial resources. They serve on committees, communicate with their legislators, and are involved in community projects; all to enhance the professionalism of the industry.

"Builders should be involved in the industry to keep up with the latest changes in codes, products and techniques," said Jim Roberts of Roberts Construction, Kalamazoo. "These benefits make the members of the association the cream of the crop. Non members may be out-of-touch with such issues and thus do their clients -- and themselves -- a disservice."