This past August, NPR featured a unique challenge currently facing the remodeling industry: a lack of available contractors. With home prices on the rise again, millions of Americans are remodeling their homes, and contractors are overloaded.
Because of the housing crash of 2009, the industry lost over 2 million general contractors who never returned. Between the smaller pool of workers and the demand on those who are currently working, finding a good general contractor can be near impossible right now.
Given the contractor shortage, what can you do if you’re looking to remodel your Scarsdale home? These three tips will help you book a good contractor even when it seems none are to be found.
Source friends and family
The best resource for finding a contractor who might be willing to take on your project? Get a referral from someone close who’s worked with them before and has an established relationship. By doing this, you can guarantee yourself two things:
- You’ll meet a contractor who’s already been vetted by someone you trust. This can save you precious time and headaches at the front end of your remodeling process. Even with most good contractors fully booked, the vetting process is essential–probably now more than ever.
- The contractor is more likely to work with you. Getting a recommendation from a friend or family member works both ways. The contractor is also getting you as a recommended client from someone they’ve established a relationship with. They’ll know you’re someone who’s trustworthy and financially capable. Additionally, knowing your loved one is willing to give referrals will increase your chances the contractor will take on your project. Losing your business could potentially mean losing your loved one’s business and any future referrals.
Make yourself desirable
Before you start contacting possible contractors in Scarsdale, get your ducks in a row. Obtain references, your credit report and bank letters before your begin your search. Your contractor may or may not request them, but in a competitive market, anything you can do to separate yourself from other clients is a bonus. Make sure you also know the parameters and extent of the renovation project. Be able to tell your contractor exactly what the scope of the remodeling will be and what improvements you’re looking for.
At this point, you’ll also want to research renovation costs for your particular project, and be sure they fit within your budget. A contractor won’t be willing to waste their time on a project with a budget too low for the final product. In another market in another time, clients might be able to leave off this portion of their preparation, opting to discuss estimates and current costs during the contactor search. With such stiff competition, however, clients should be willing to do this work themselves and bring their own estimates to prospective contractors.
Be willing to wait
This might be the most difficult tip of all. Be willing to live in your home with your current kitchen or bathroom or other area of the home not yet renovated. This may mean putting off selling your home, even, if you were looking to renovate to sell, or living around an outdated room. The longer you can wait, however, the better leverage you’ll have in your search.
Use this time to keep a close eye on remodeling trends. Some features and colors will go out of fashion quickly, even if they seem hot at the time. Waiting will give you an idea of what would have become a waste of money, and which features will be your best investment. You may find that you’ll end up saving yourself a significant amount of time and money by simply waiting for an available contractor to come along.