Why Cash Deals With Virginia General Contractors Can Be Dangerous

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractors_contractMost homeowners would jump at the chance to secure a good deal, especially in these tight economic times. But when it comes to hiring Virginia general contractors to look after your home renovation, addition or remodel, cash deals can put you in a surprising amount of danger. Find out why these under the table arrangements really are too good to be true.

Assumptions About the Advantages of Cash Deals

Many homeowners assume that a cash deal presents no risk to them. The contractor is simply operating “under the table” to avoid paying income tax. Homeowners also assume that they are saving money by avoiding any state or sales tax. But the reality is that much more is happening during a cash deal, especially when that transaction involves home renovations.

Cash deals are generally un-receipted work, which means that no paperwork is issued and no proof that any particular contractor completed the work exists. This also means that no warranties are in place – neither the workmanship nor the materials are under warranty (unless the homeowner has paid for the materials separately and keeps the receipts). In this way the contractor is avoiding any legal action or service calls in regards to substandard work.

Insurance Coverage Nullified

Homeowners may have trouble obtaining insurance with no receipts to show for the completed renovation work. They may be able to claim that some of the project involved DIY work, but with plumbing, electrical and mechanical work involved that clam could pose a serious problem.

Cash deals often skip the building permit stage as well, since that adds to the cost and also leaves a paper trail (something most under the table Virginia general contractors want to avoid). But your insurance company may cry foul with no building permits issued and coverage could be denied or refused in the case of damage.

In some cases a house sale has been held up or overturned due to the lack of building permits or proper home insurance. Any money saved on the cash deal seems small in comparison to the cost of these hassles.

Beware of Cash Deal Contractor Business Practices

You may be tempted to hire a casual contractor for your Virginia home improvement project. But before you count up any dollars saved, be sure you investigate whether or not that contractor has the proper insurance and safety procedures in place. If not, you could be on the hook for some serious damages should an accident occur.

Liens may also be in place on the materials for your project. If the renovation is large enough, those liens can represent thousands of dollars and the homeowner may be responsible for those dollars should the contractor default on supplier payments. Usually professional and established general contractors will issue a contract spelling out liability and waiving the homeowners from any responsibility for defaulted payments on the contractor’s accounts.

It may seem like that cash deal will save you a lot of money, but if you are not dealing with experienced Virginia general contractors in a professional and legal manner you run some serious risks. Keep it on the up and up and enjoy better peace of mind during your home improvement project.

Three Projects You Can Trust Virginia General Contractors to Handle Skillfully

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsHome improvement projects are not always straightforward. They may involve a little bit of demolition and repair. They might also require a wide variety of skills and disciplines. But when you are looking for a skilled craftsman who can handle the most complicated and obscure jobs your best bet is to look for Virginia general contractors. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to complete a vast range of projects, including the following:

Replacement or Upgrade of Exterior Finishes

From the siding and trim to the windows and doors, your exterior finishes perform an essential function. These components offer protection from the elements and provide an attractive face for your home. They also serve as the major player in energy efficiency. Older designs can result in excessive wastes and massive utility bills.

Trust general contractors to provide all of the services required for an exterior facelift. They will remove any aged and worn siding and trim, as well as assess the quality and fit of the existing doors and windows. Experienced contractors will have access to any brand or manufacturer you prefer and will have the knowledge required to choose components that work together seamlessly.

Exterior Living Spaces

As well as repairs and replacement of the exterior finishes, experienced Virginia general contractors will have the skills to design and build your dream outdoor living space. Overhead features like pergolas and arbors compliment custom decks. Patios and stone walkways integrate perfectly with beautifully landscaped gardens. And sunrooms or solariums provide the ultimate bridge between indoor and outdoor living.

Building a quality exterior living space requires all of the same skills as building a house, and general contractors are more than qualified. Lighting plays a major role and patio heating will also require contractors skilled in electrical work. Plumbing might even be a factor if water features or an outdoor kitchen are part of the design. Let your imagination soar and allow an established general contracting firm to handle the details of construction of your dream outdoor living space.

Major Room Remodels

When it’s time to refinish the kitchen cabinets or upgrade the bathroom fixtures you may be tempted to call in a company that specializes in those rooms. But don’t discount the skills of general contractors. Experienced firms will have completed plenty of these projects, from flooring to cabinetry, tiling and plumbing.

A benefit of hiring general contractors for this type of work is their versatile experience. The skills acquired through home building and major renovations are applied well in kitchen and bathroom remodels. You can be sure that the designs will flow with the balance of your home and will use sustainable, affordable materials. General contractors are also highly skilled in project management, which allows for a smooth and hassle free renovation (otherwise known as a homeowner’s dream).

They may not be your first thought, but Virginia general contractors are more than equipped to handle almost any home improvement projects you are planning. From upgrades to your windows and siding to exterior living spaces and kitchen or bath remodels, skilled general contracting firms offer a combination of extensive construction skills and highly developed management knowledge. They are your best bet and will leave you satisfied with your home and living space.

How Your Virginia Contractor Can Help With Building Permits

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_contractor_building_permitWe all want to live in a home that is safely built and efficiently designed. Life is just more comfortable that way. But in order for your home to be constructed in a safe manner with properly tested materials and skilled labor there needs to be a system of standards and accountability to ensure those standards are followed. Simply put, that’s why there are building permits. And you can count on your Virginia contractor to help you wade your way through the often complicated world of permits.

From Application to Inspection

Depending on the type of home improvement project you have on the go, the building permit process can be a lengthy one. An initial application will need to be filled out and submitted, along with an application or permit fee.

Your Virginia contractor may include this service and fee in their estimate. Or they may specify that you apply and pay for the permit separately. Good contractors will offer you the advice and information necessary to obtain a permit, even if they do not apply on your behalf.

From the date of application you will generally need to wait for the municipality or state to review the drawings and plans and issue their approval. There could be changes to the project at this stage, forcing you to comply with current building codes or insisting that certain parts of your home be upgraded to today’s standards. Be prepared to have some flexibility in your design until you have that seal of approval from the planning department.

Once the project is underway there will likely be inspections during the process. These usually need to be booked by the contractor, since they know how far along the work will be and when. You may need to be present at the inspections, although some projects and some inspectors will simply leave a confirmation of the process allowing the contractor to move forward.

Always be sure that any changes to the job are handled quickly and professionally. You do not want to take short cuts and have the building department shut down your job.

A final inspection is very often required in order for the final permit to be issued. There may or may not be infractions at this point. Be aware that even the best contractors get infracted at some point or another, sometimes due to error and other times due to design or communication issues. Infractions can usually be taken care of very quickly and the permit issued soon after.

Permits are Important

Your insurance company and financing arrangements may insist that a building permit be issued for your home improvement project. This covers your liability and ensures that the contractor follows building codes and produces good quality, consistent work. It is an added cost and does take a certain amount of time, but in the end obtaining a permit is not only necessary, it’s also wise.

An experienced Virginia contractor will have the tips and information to help speed the building permit process along. You can count on their advice, design and skills to make this portion of your home renovation move smoothly and efficiently.

Experienced Virginia General Contractors Have the Connections You Need

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsAs is true in nearly every industry, contractors and construction firms often work together to make projects happen. Homeowners can cash in on the benefits of this network by hiring experienced Virginia general contractors that have the connections you need. Are you wondering how these relationships can help in a home addition or construction job? Think about these advantages and consider the value of a well-connected firm.

General Contractors Need to Manage Multiple Disciplines Well

Your Virginia general contractor will be in charge of making your project run smoothly. They will need to coordinate the schedule, order and arrange for the delivery of materials and hire, manage and supervise the various crews working at your home. Starting with a contractor that has a wide range of connections within the assorted areas of expertise needed is a smart idea.

For instance, if your general contractor has worked with a certain plumbing firm on many jobs and is familiar with their style of work, trusts their level of quality and has a decent level of communication with their staff, your project will surely reap the benefits of that connection.

On the other hand, if a general contractor hires a plumber they have not worked with in the past your project may be the testing ground and will suffer from any mistakes and lack of expertise. A general contracting firm without sufficient connections will be flying blind when hiring and managing the subtrades. And the quality of your home improvement project will feel the effects of this state of affairs.

General Contractors Need to Have Skilled Staff

Well established general contractors have connections within the subtrades, which also provides an advantage when hiring their own staff. General contracting firms often employ skilled labor, those who have spent time in various industries and are now using that knowledge to help in the management stage. Most times a connected business will be able to hire staff with good references and the skills required.

Again contracting firms that are new in town do not have this advantage. They may have a select amount of experienced staff, but their lack of connections will show. Be sure to ask the contractors about the level of experience their staff has and hire a firm that will offer proven expertise at every stage.

General Contractors Need to Deal With Government Agencies

Most projects require a certain amount of dealings with government agencies. From the building department to city planning and zoning, the connections your general contracting firm has will help as your project goes through various levels of government. It may not be well advertised, but firms that have done plenty of work in your area will know how to move through the system efficiently.

They will be well versed in how to fill out the applicable forms and apply for the proper variances and permits. Certain Virginia general contractors will have established relationships with the building inspectors and government staff that need to be involved in your project. These relationships will prove helpful, along with their connections in the industry and their experienced staff. It pays in more ways than one to hire a general contractor firm that has proven itself and will serve you well.