7 Tips for Hiring Contractors
 
Find A LocationLocations
Make A PaymentPayments
Popular Pages
Still Need Help?More
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
Call Us
512-836-5901
800-237-5087
Email Us
Click Here
Mail Us
Amplify FCU
PO Box 85300
Austin, TX 78708
Live Chat
Click Here
 
Popular Looking For Help? APPLY LOGIN
APPLY LOGIN
LOGIN
Enter your login ID:
Password:
APPLY
 
Research and articles related to home renovations

Financial Advice

FINANCING HOME RENOVATIONS

Articles and research about improving your home

Research and articles related to home renovations

Financial Advice

FINANCING HOME RENOVATIONS

Articles and research about improving your home

7 Tips for Hiring Contractors

Published May 2, 2013 | Updated May 30, 2013

The cost of some home improvement projects can be more than the price of a car. But according to contractor licensing boards, most consumers spend far less time choosing a contractor for home improvements than they do choosing a car. The following steps can help you choose a contractor and avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings:

  1. Get referrals from family and friends. A contractor's previous work gives you a good idea of both the quality of the work and the working relationship. You know how much error or delay your friends and family will tolerate, so their recommendations will be useful.
  2. Decide what you want done. Be as specific as possible to avoid any misunderstandings. Think through all the details of your project(s) and if applicable, talk with an architect or an engineer to make sure you understand any infrastructure issues behind your vision.
  3. Get competitive bids. Compare bids from at least three different contractors. Make sure they're bidding on the same services and quality of products, and keep in mind that the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid.
  4. Check referrals and licenses. Ask for references aside from your friends and family. Ask them specific questions about the work they had done and their satisfaction level. Also make sure the contractor is licensed with a current license in good standing. While Texas does not require a state license, individual boards license HVAC and plumbing.
  5. Get everything in writing. Read the contract carefully before signing. It should not only include costs, payment terms and schedules, but also list all materials, brand names, models, warranties and lumber grades for the materials. Do not sign anything until you completely understand the terms.
  6. Don't let payments get ahead of work. Most contractor boards recommend putting down no more than 10% or $1,000, whichever is less. Don't pay cash. Checks or credit cards give you a paper trail. Keep records of your payments and make sure that you're satisfied with the quality of work before you release the next round of funds.
  7. Secure your financing. How you will finance your improvements is another important consideration. You want to have your financing lined up before you start talking to potential contractors so you'll know how much you have to spend. Be sure to hold some back for those unexpected costs that are the norm in these types of projects. Amplify has affordable options, including Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit that offer competitive rates. The interest on your home equity loan may be tax deductible1. Contact your tax advisor to find out if you qualify for the deduction.

1. Home Equity: APR is Annual Percentage Rate. Loans Subject to approval. Combined Loan-to-Value (CLTV) cannot exceed 80% of your home’s value. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. Amplify Membership and Property Insurance required.

HELOC: The home equity line of credit Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is variable and is based on the highest Prime Rate published each month-end in The Wall Street Journal Money Rates Table (the "Index"), plus a margin. The current Index is 3.50%. Maximum APR is 17.90%. This Account has a Draw Period of 10 years, after which you will be required to repay any amounts within a 10-year term. Interest on your HELOC may be tax-deductible – please consult your tax advisor for details. Property Insurance, including flood insurance as needed, is required. Loans Subject to approval. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. Amplify Membership required. Consult the CFPB's Home Equity Line of Credit booklet as well as the Early HELOC Disclosure for more information.

Under Texas law, the maximum you can borrow with a HELOC is 50% of the fair market value of your home, as long as the combined loan-to-value does not exceed 80% in cases where there is an existing first lien mortgage on the home. A minimum draw amount of $4000 is required for each advance after the initial $10,000 advance at origination.

Careers  |   Forms & Disclosures  |   FAQ  |   Privacy & Security  |   NMLS# 530487  |   Routing Number: 314977227
VISIT US: Like us on Facebook Connect with us on Google+ Follow us on Twitter Connect with us on LinkedIn Watch us on YouTube