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Homeowner Challenges - Hiring The Right Renovation Contractor

So you have received several quotations and proposals for the planned renovation works to your home.

Some renovation companies have introduced their standard home renovation packages to you, while others say you should divulge your wish list, so they could work out a customised ala carte package. You feel confused and unsure because it’s your first time. So what do you do in such a situation? 

Hiring the right renovation company need not be complicated or difficult. 

The Sales Quotation

Before deciding on any renovation package, an important document you need to be familiar with is the estimate or the quotation. A sales quotation is supposed to clearly list a breakdown of the services and item descriptions offered by the renovation company. 

It gives you a clear view and the opportunity to understand on paper, the quantity and costs of each item(s) or service(s) that comes in the proposed renovation package. It also allows you to ensure these items/ services are promptly delivered and implemented correctly onsite.

The Renovation Contract

Another important document one needs to scrutinise are the legally binding documents involved once you make a buying decision. In layman terms, you call it a Contract. This important document must conform to legal standards and practices.

It must also include terms and conditions that both you and the interior design firm mutually accepts and agree upon. Check out a good example of a renovation contract.

Take note that a contract should clearly indicate items such as:

  • Payment terms. It is a standard practice to clearly list out progressive milestone payments.
  • Late payment penalty.
  • Services or items that are included or excluded in the package.
  • Completion date and duration of the renovation work.
  • Termination or exit clause.
  • Warranty.

A typical and fair payment model would usually be structured this way:

  • 20% upon confirmation.
  • 40% upon commencement of work on site.
  • 30% upon delivery of carpentry items on site.
  • 10% upon final completion of renovation work.

You should not sign or make any payment without first reading and understanding a sales quotation or contract. When in doubt, ask questions and seek clarification from the renovation company. If any item description(s) are vaguely or improperly written, make sure they are promptly corrected. 

Vet every item and raise questions about hidden charges or possible unforeseen expenses. These should be clearly explained to you. Always insist the renovation company to write these down clearly.

Avoid any form of verbal contracts and unofficial quotations because the reasons are obvious:

  • You won’t know what and how much you should pay for each item.
  • There is no way for you to track items and their delivery.
  • In the event of a dispute, you have no documentation proof. 

So you have received several quotations and proposals for the planned renovation works to your home. 

Check For References


It is a good practice to check for reviews or references of renovation companies. Find out if the company has a good reputation and happy customers. Alternatively, seek recommendations from neighbours or friends who have renovated recently.

Watch Out For Warning Flags


Avoid renovation contractors who show up at your door or those who touts below newly completed housing. Steer clear of those who promise huge discounts or offers without even seeing the job that needs to be done.  

Beware of those that do not tell you a fixed start or end date for renovation works. When a renovation contractor requests you to make large down payments before work is completed, don’t do so because payments are usually meted out only after the specific work is completed. 

Find a Renovation Company You Can Work With


Since your renovation contractor will play an important role in the renovation works, select one you can work well with. Talk to several companies and evaluate which one understands your requirements best. 

Do your homework and find out the prices of materials, labour costs etc. Then prepare a list of questions to ask.  This will help you stay informed and make better decisions.

Renovation Package Checklist


A renovation package will contain the following:

1. Detailed description of work to be done. It must include blueprints if needed.
2. Detailed description about the type, and quantity of materials to be used.
3. Detailed description of work, service or item included or excluded.
4. Identify who is responsible for securing permits and ensuring that all inspection checks are made. 
5. All work is done according to local standards and regulations. 
6. Clearly state whether the contractor will be responsible for removing the debris.
7. Clearly indicate the start and end dates of work carried out.
8. Clearly indicate payment terms.
9. Workmanship warranties, the period for which they are applicable and what will be done should there be any problems.
10. It should also contain a statement outlining cancellation rights and what should be done if things go wrong.
11. Finally, the contract must have the signatures of both parties- i.e. of you and the renovation company.