The Three Rules HGTV's Mike Holmes Swears By When Hiring A Contractor

After discussing a terrible experience with a past hire, HGTV expert Mike Holmes offers three rules to abide by when looking for a reliable contractor. "One, slow down and take your time because doing any construction on your home is going to take way more work for you than you could imagine. Two, educate yourself. What type of permits do I need? And no. 3, check out your contractor," he says via Realtor.

Hiring a contractor requires diligence and thorough research to ensure your home project is completed to your satisfaction and within your budget. These three rules highlight three things you need to be as you try to find a good contractor — patient, well-informed, and invested in the process. When you're patient, you won't rush the renovation and will give yourself the time you need to carry out all the necessary verifications, from looking into their previous jobs to making sure they have the right credentials.

Be well-informed when hiring a contractor

Information is key when starting any serious project. Get recommendations from trusted people who can give you firsthand reports about how a contractor works and check that they have the right licenses to carry out the work needed. Another good source of information is how they present their proposal and quote. If they include a lot of details, it's a green flag, but if anything is left vague or ambiguous, then you should steer clear, according to Mike Holmes on his website Make It Right.

As the homeowner, you also have responsibilities in these early stages. You need to be specific about your wants and goals so your vision is precise enough to spot a good fit. You also need to know the permits needed for your property so there are no holdups on your end. Shop around for contractors with intention and communicate clearly during the entire process. When you decide on someone, ensure you draw up a detailed contract so you have everything in writing.

How to follow up on references

A big part of hiring a contractor for Mike Holmes is verifying their references thoroughly. "Go check out the work that he has given you references for and ask the homeowners 101 questions: Did they start on time? Did they finish on time? Were they courteous? Were they clean? Did they charge you more money at the end of the job?" he says on Realtor.

Prompts like these go beyond the type of work they did and dig deep into their character as a person. They also provide some insight into their behavior both during and after the job. Since you will be depending on them to deliver on their promise, these are all important things to know. Following through with references by contacting them and asking them these questions might be time-consuming, but Mike Holmes sees it as a job that you need to do to save you from any problems later on. Overall, he recommends trusting your instincts.