Did you know that Americans are expected to spend $340 billion (yes, that's billion) on remodeling this year? With that in mind, here are some important tips to keep in mind whenever you hire a contractor.
Brooks Beaupain
206-778-4663 Direct
Hiring a Contractor?
Use These Tips to Pick a Winner

1. Get references from their clients and colleagues.

Talking with a contractor's recent clients is helpful, but it's also a good idea to speak with a few subcontractors and suppliers who can tell you if the contractor pays them reliably.

2.  Find out if they are adequately insured.

Ask for proof of both liability insurance and Workers' Compensation. (These are two separate things.)  Liability insurance covers your home if it is damaged during the course of the project.  Workers' Compensation protects you from being held liable if a worker is injured.

Tip: Being licensed and bonded does not mean a contractor is insured.

3. Ask what deposit and payment schedule they require.

Experts recommend never paying more than one-third of the project cost as a deposit, and many suggest you pay less. Some states, such as California, limit the deposit to the lesser of $1,000 or 10% of project cost. Do not make the final payment until work is 100% complete, and make sure the receipt says "Paid in full".

4. Be very clear about the estimate and scope of work.


Ask for a written, itemized estimate, and find out if it is a fixed-price bid or subject to change. It's also a good idea to ask how changes will be handled during the course of the project. The final contract should be clear about dates, scope of work, materials, payment installments, and who is responsible for permits.

5. Get lien waivers as you proceed.

Get a lien waiver from the contractor every time you make a payment. This protects you from being sued via a mechanic's lien if the contractor fails to pay subcontractors or suppliers.

Tip: Ask these 5 questions before hiring.

- "Are you licensed and bonded?"  (This is not the same as being insured.)
- "Will you be hiring subcontractors?"
- "Will you tidy up before leaving each day, and to what extent?"
- "Do you charge a markup on materials that you buy?"
- "What kind of warranty do you offer, and is it in writing?"

Most states have a contractor licensing database that can be found by searching online for "contractor license lookup".  These tell you if a license is currently active, and may also provide information about the contractor's bond and insurance.

Warm Weather Reminder:
Cars Heat Up Quickly!


Did you know that the interior of a car can become dangerously hot when it's only 63 degrees Fahrenheit outside? 

- On a 72-degree day it takes 10 minutes for the temperature to reach 91 degrees inside a car parked in the sun, according to the journal Pediatrics.

- According to the CDC, when the temperature outside is 80 degrees, a car's interior temperature can quickly rise to 130 degrees.

Contrary to what many pet owners believe, leaving the windows cracked partly open makes no significant difference, according to experts.

Sunny days with cool breezes are especially deceptive; while the driver may feel prompted to put on a jacket as soon as they leave the vehicle, inside the car the temperature rises quickly. 

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who drives with their pet!

Recent Market Highlights
Market chart icon

- U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent year-to-year in February, according to a recent S&P/Case-Shiller report.  They rose 7.0 percent year-to-year in March,  according to CoreLogic, a data and analytics company.

- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is in the low 4 to mid-4-percent range.

The March Pending Home Sales Index decreased 3.0 percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Contact Me for Market Information
Are you curious about your home's current market value, or do you have a question about home buying? Just reply to this email, or call me at 206-778-4663.
Links that Make Life Easier

Sometimes real estate-related, sometimes not... these are assorted links that come in handy:

What's the Difference Between Bonded and Insured?
Angie's List clears up a common source of confusion about contractor liability coverage.

How to Stop Annoying Robocalls on Your iPhone or Android Phone
Tips on how to block annoying spam calls, including a list of helpful cell phone apps.

Beth's Melt In Your Mouth Barbecue Ribs (Oven Version)
Even people who typically have trouble making ribs are giving this recipe great reviews.

The Lighter Side


It's hard to describe this dog's amazing reaction to pizza, except to say that many of us probably secretly feel the same way. :)

Click here or on the image above to watch the video on The Dodo's YouTube channel. (If you see an ad first, you should be able to click 'Skip Ad' in the video's lower right corner after about five seconds.)

Your Resource for Real Estate
I welcome the opportunity to serve you, your friends and associates. Please give me a call today or simply reply to this email if I can be of assistance!

Brooks Beaupain, REALTOR®, ASP, GRI, CNE
Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. | 206-778-4663

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