Even the most crafty DIYer can’t do everything his or herself. But when it’s time to call in the pros, do yourself a favor and think carefully before you speak. Even a seemingly innocuous comment can rub contractors the wrong way, cost you money, or create major headaches later on.
Stephen Fanuka has been a general contractor for more than 22 years, and with his own show, Million Dollar Contractor, he’s arguably one of the nation’s most famous. But even with high-profile clients and astronomical budgets, he hears many of the same ill-advised comments as everyone else in his line of work.
Yahoo Makers talked to Fanuka and several other contractors to learn what you should never say, unless you want to end up as a renovation horror story. Are you guilty of uttering these phrases?
1. I hired you because the other guys I hired never showed up. This is always a red flag to Al Davidian, owner of Innovative Constructions in the Los Angeles area. “To me it seems that this is a problem client – why would several people not want to show up for this person’s project?”
2. “I watched a YouTube video, so I probably know just as much as you do about how to do it.” There’s truth to the saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing… with all the home renovation how-to videos available, it’s easy for a homeowner to assume that they understand the work involved. But just as you wouldn’t watch a video of a surgery and then try to tell your surgeon how to do your appendectomy, you shouldn’t tell your contractor how to do your renovation. “It’s okay to Google things as a client, you do want to educate yourself,” says Fanuka. “But don’t act like you know more than the tradesman. Try to be respectful that they are the professionals.”
3. “While you’re working on this, can you just do these few other things?” This is a big pet peeve with Davidian – when a client starts adding on unrelated tasks that are beyond the scope of work originally contracted. “I don’t mind doing a few small things here and there without charging extra,” he says. “But when it’s too much, and not part of the contract, that’s an unrealistic expectation.”
4. “It’s okay, the neighbors won’t mind.” If you think there might be an issue with zoning, permitting, or any other matter that might affect your neighbors, it’s always best to clear it with your neighbors and not to assume they will be okay with the work you’re doing. John Cummings, a contractor with Clockwork Construction in Decatur, GA, recalls a project he was doing with a roofed deck that was close to the lot line, but for which the client had gotten a variance years ago. “They said the neighbors would be fine with the project,” he recalls, “But the minute we started work, they called the city and got us shut down. Don’t assume you’ve got a good relationship with your neighbors.”
5. ”I’m going to fly you to Afghanistan to pick out the marble for my countertops.” No joke, a client actually requested this of Fanuka. His reaction? “You couldn’t pay me enough to go to Afghanistan to pick out your countertop,” he says. (He did, however, fly to Italy on a client’s dime to match the stucco on a house.) Bottom line: Don’t expect your contractor to risk their life just so you can get a certain result.
6. “You’ll have the check tomorrow.” The contractors we talked to said this is the number one thing they hear, and the promise is rarely acted upon. Fanuka says he’s even known clients to intentionally not sign checks to buy themselves a few extra days. When you tell your contractor when you’ll pay them, be true to your word.
7. “Since I just told you what I want, there’s no need to put it in writing.” To make sure everyone is on the same page – literally- Fanuka and other contractors recommend that everything is in writing. If you have a conversation, follow it up with an email or meeting minutes so that you have backup if there’s a misunderstanding.
8. “You’re almost done, here’s my final payment.” Even if there’s just some cleanup or a few last finishing touches to be done, it’s always best to hold that last 10 percent of payment until the punch list is done. Once he’s fully paid, some contractors might not be motivated to ensure that their job is completely finished in a timely manner.
Author:Lesley Vitel Phone: 904-534-8052 Dated: January 26th 2015 Views: 547 About Lesley: Lesley's career in real estate officially began in 2005 when she partnered with her mother Lynn (A v...
Lesley Vitel has been serving the needs of both home buyers and sellers in Florida for well over a decade. During this time, she has acquired the crucial skills necessary to guide anyone through the process of finding the home of their dreams or getting out of one that is no longer meeting their needs.
This tech "savvyness" is just a sample of the knowledge and assistance they are capable of providing you as a client.
Lesley is very familiar with the area. She is able to take into consideration the neighborhoods, schools, crime rates and local market conditions during the process of finding the right home for you. All too often, people move into a beautiful home that is in the wrong location, and Lesley will use her skills and experience to make sure that does not happen to you.
This professional understands the value of consistent communication. Many real estate agencies fail to return important phone calls or give valuable that clients need to know. Lesley understands that you have expectations and are embarking on a life changing journey, and she strives to make herself and her staff readily available to answer questions and keep you properly updated throughout the entire process.
Online marketing is crucial in the age we live in, and most home buyers search online first for the home of their dreams. Buyers and sellers alike will be pleased with the capabilities Lesley Vitel makes available online.
If you are in the market for anything from traditional condos and single family home sales to short-sales, foreclosures and auctions, then you have found the right place to take care of your needs. Lesley and the rest of her staff are continually sharpening their real estate skills and would be pleased to share their knowledge with you.
This adorable, single story (no one above or below) low-maintenance Be
"Lynn and Lesley are the team you want. Their professionalism and expertise are second to none. Ok so now that I have said what every testimonial says, here is the more heartfelt version. They are amazing. This is a difficult market that changes from month to month if not more often. In the last year, the rules and complexities of buying and selling have changed repeatedly. This is not the market of your mother and father. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mack REO’s and short sales now dominate the market. It is no easy task to keep up. Who own the house in the case of a short sale? Do you know how long a short sale takes? Do you know if you need a refrigerator to close an FHA loan? You would be foolish to attempt to buy a short sale or foreclosure property without Lynn and Lesley’s knowledge of the market. And by the way, buying new construction is no less complicated. As with so many things in life, being a good agent is an art form. Some people ‘get it’ and others don’t. Buyer’s remorse is the last thing you want. They will listen to you even when you don’t know what you are saying. Their ability to get the job is unparalleled. So what are you waiting for, your new home isn’t. Call them!"