The way your property looks and feels will make or break your sale–and those factors rest on your property investment team’s contractor. It’s important to hire a contractor you know will get the job done professionally and effectively.
Hiring a contractor to oversee your property renovation gives you direct access to an expert who can manage all the moving parts for efficient project completion including project coordination, consistent quality control and timely and accurate communications.
Without a contractor, you run the risk of shelling out more money than necessary in case of damages. Your property may not look as seamlessly finished, and handling the tradespeople may not be worth the time, effort and money if everything is disjointed and communication is poor. To make the best of your major property renovation and upgrade, you need a contractor.
You can’t just get any old contractor, however, you need to find a good contractor who works with your needs, responds quickly and is in sync with your communication style.
While it will take a little extra time to go over resumes and conduct background checks, you will have security around your renovation work knowing everything will be done on time to the highest possible quality. As well as reducing your stress, hiring a professional will maximise your chance of a great return on investment.
As an Australian investing in residential real estate in the U.S., it’s possible to see amazing profits, especially when you overcome the challenges of time zones and distance. The way to ensure this is through hiring a skilled property management team on the ground, starting with a contractor you trust to coordinate your project. Getting that right means you can rest easy and let the extra income roll in.
Why hiring a good contractor is important
Finding a good contractor is essential to keeping your property improvements consistent, on time and in line with the vision in your head. Your contractor will help keep your project on track by overseeing essential tasks such as:
- Hiring qualified subcontractors
- Coordinating with suppliers for materials
- Addressing and relaying build status
- Overseeing build quality and timeliness
- Managing construction workers
As the most hands-on member of your team, they’ll have a direct impact on your property renovation timeframes, consistency and quality. The right contractor will also bring engaging energy to the project site which can change the pace and worker motivation for the better –from simple refurbishments right through to property overhauls.
The benefits of hiring a good contractor far outweigh the costs and will assist you by:
- Saving time and money overall
- Providing access to their trusted subcontractor network
- Giving support and feedback to workers on site
- Reducing and simplifying your workload
Five things a great contractor needs to demonstrate
The right contractor will oversee your project to ensure you have the best quality renovation possible and show that they have the ability to seamlessly handle every subcontractor and tradesperson working on your property. Here are five things that your contractor needs to demonstrate to be the most valuable part of your team.
1. A proper licence
The most important thing you need to secure is a copy of your contractor’s licence. A photocopy or photograph of the licence is enough to cross-check with online databases that store professional contractor information and ensure it’s legitimate.
Licence conditions vary from state to state so you will need to do your research on what is required for the state your property is located.
2. Insurance and property damage coverage
A professional contractor will have general liability insurance to protect against any kind of loss and mitigate risks.
As well as your property damage, there also needs to be protection against damage to worker property or personal injury to workers as well, especially in the U.S. where hospital costs run into the hundreds of thousands.
As well as protecting your investment and ensuring the wellbeing of workers, a contractor who has taken the time to secure general liability insurance is demonstrating their professionalism and how seriously they take their job.
3. Past experience, customers and social proof
Your research into who you hire will need to go deeper than just the testimonials they provide as part of their resume or website. No one is going to post a bad review of themselves. To get the social proof you can trust you need to cast a wider net. Google is a great example of a research resource as your candidates can’t manipulate the greater web.
Look for past client reviews, follow up on case studies to get more information and dig as deep as you can to see what they are really like to work with. If there is a negative review, give them the benefit of the doubt and ask them about it. Not only will this show you both sides of the story, it will also give you an idea of how they handle situations.
4. A legitimate network of subcontractors
An experienced, reliable general contractor should already have subcontractors in mind or people they’ve worked with in the past.
This will give you legitimate shortcuts in finding and hiring a team that not only performs to the contractor’s standards but already knows how to work well together. This will reduce the likelihood of walkouts and reduce team standup times making your flip timeframe shorter.
Who your contractor selects will also show how well they know their job and the specifications involved for your type of renovation work.
5. Keeps accurate job files and bookwork
While trade work is hands-on and active, it also comes with paperwork, lots of it. There are subcontractor contracts, plans, permits, order forms, blueprints and easements that all need to be carefully filed and referred to multiple times throughout the project.
A contractor needs to be practised in keeping everything in writing and accessible. This is important when working with someone regardless of your location–but even more important when working interstate or internationally.
The contractor should be able to provide you with a high-level overview of their systems and communication methods which should predominantly be digital (as I doubt you want multiple calls throughout the night to answer one simple question). This will also give you an indication of how they run their business at large and their professional abilities in being organised and reliable during a hectic and complex building project.
At the end of the day, hiring someone interestate vs. overseas isn’t that different. You want to ensure you are hiring a trustworthy and professional contractor to oversee any property investment renovations.
The main takeaway from this is to ensure that you don’t solely rely on an interview. It’s important to carry out the required background checks to make sure they have the qualifications and work history to back up their resume.
Not only will these extra measures reduce the time and effort required for worksite check-ins, you also help create a better team on the ground who are responsive, quality-checked and working to schedule.
If you are interested in flipping a U.S. property for profit, take a look at our Fix and Flip Academy. This online, self-paced course gives you all the information you need to get started.
For any further advice on buying residential investment property in the U.S or building your ground crew, give the Star Dynamic team a call.