Tuesday, December 4, 2018

7 Tips to consider when engaging a renovation contractor

There are many properties for sale in Singapore and you can always look for the project details for the properties that you are interested in, such as the condominium Turquoise’s project detail. Have you recently just bought a property?

Whether or not it is for own stay or investment purpose, you will still need to engage with a renovation contractor for your house. Recently, there have been many complaints lodged from consumers against contractors or design companies for incomplete services and work. Therefore, The Singapore Police Force has posted warnings on their Facebook page to alert consumers to be careful when they engage in any renovation services. These are the tips that you should consider when you engage a renovation contractor to prevent getting scammed.

1. Physical location
You should check for the contractor’s business location before you start engaging in one. Make sure the business has a proper business office and always arrange for a meeting with your contractor at their office so you can know if the business and services they offer is a legitimate business or just a fraud. Communication is key. It is always better to meet face to face than to discuss everything through phone calls or emails. Moreover, a contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily that puts you at ease. 

2. Check with SCRAYou can also check with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) to double check if the company is a registered business or not.

3. Registered renovation contractorIf you are intending to renovate your HDB flat, you can check if your renovation contractor is registered under HDB Renovation Contractor from the HDB website before you sign a contract with the renovation contractor.

4. Current ongoing projects
You can also do some background check and look out for the contractor’s ongoing projects to check on the reliability of the contractor. Look out for the contractor’s past projects and clients to decide whether you like his or her work outcome. The contractor should be able to provide you his or her portfolio and the list of clients over the years. In addition, seeing the contractor’s portfolio might spark some ideas for your project. Use it as a reference to your house. If in doubt, ask the contractors further regarding their past projects to further understand the contractor.

Pick a contractor who specializes in what you want. Check on their portfolios before you sign the contract to prevent any unhappy events in the future. Make sure the contractor you engage with has the experience in the type of work you prefer. If in doubt, you could called up former clients to find how their projects went and ask to see the finished products.

5. Upfront paymentBe cautious with upfront payment. Although some contractors might require an initial payment from you before the work commence, it is very unlikely that a contractor would request for a full payment even before the renovation starts. If possible, set a payment schedule to avoid any miscommunication.

6. Handwritten contract Verbal agreement is never enough. Once you have decided on which contractor to engage with, make sure you have everything written in black and white to protect yourself and your rights. Make sure the contract contains all the work that is needed to be done to prevent getting short changed. The contract is to make sure that the contractor delivers what he or she promises to deliver. If the contractor refuses to give you a contract listing down on the jobs need to be done, you should then look out for another contractor.

The contract should include the costs, the brands of items being installed, estimated start and finish date and the set of drawings with written and clear specifications. There is never too much detail in a contract so make sure you read the contract thoroughly before you put the pen to the paper.

7. Second opinion

There is no harm in seeking for second opinion. You might have heard stories on how the contractor is charging extra for some ‘unforeseen circumstances’ or ‘additional work’. Make sure the contractor lists down the additional work that he has done to avoid getting scammed. Although it might be real that additional work is done, it still does no harm that you get second opinion from other contractors or friends. Make sure you are very sure with what the contractor has done before you proceed to paying him the money.

In conclusion, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Do your homework and research before you start engaging with any renovation contractor to prevent getting scammed. It is always good to seek for opinions from people as well to get the best contractor available. Get recommendations from people that you know. Check with your family and friends. After all, there will be quite a lot of money involved when it comes to renovation work and you definitely do not want things to go wrong.

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