Lately I am doing many repairs and upgrades around my own home.
Once I started doing them, I realized how difficult to find trustful contractors to do jobs.
First of all, I always hire licensed, and bonded contractors. I like contractors who are willing to get a city permit. Though the cost is important, it is not my first priority to hire a contractor whose estimates are low.
When I list properties for sellers, I find many unpermitted works. Though having a city permit isn't necessarily guarantee that the works are done perfectly, it tells us that the city has checked the work, and it has passed the city code. I think it is very important.
While looking for contractors, many said, " oh,,, do you really need a permit? We do a great job whether you pull a permit or not. It will cost you more..."
Sounds discouraging, don't you think?
Just a quick note but in the city of Oakland, the re-roofing permit fee is very low and the city inspector doesn't even come. Not sure what is the point of having it but I got it. So, if the city doesn't inspect, how can the work be insured? The cost of re-roofing is quite high and it is supposed to last for 25-50 years depending upon your choice of materials.
I found out that I could purchase a warranty from a manufacturer of roof materials. In order to purchase a warranty, contractors need to install the materials according to the manufacturers' specification, and the contractors have to be a qualified installer by the manufacturer. In any case, I have done that. Hopefully this process minimize the risk.
Now, our 40 gallon water heating tank got a leak. I called four contractors. I always check their reviews. I asked all contractors to give me quotes for replacing with a same 40 gallon tank and tankless instant hot water system. I asked where you want to locate tankless water heater: inside or outside, where in the house etc., etc., the size of the system, and the maker.
(Please note that I have researched tankless water heater system quite a bite beforehand. I know where to install and have a few desirable makers.)
It was easy to choose the contractor I like, because he was quite honest, gave me a good price, and was willing to pull a permit. He was the only one who was happy to get a permit.)
It installed in a day and passed the city's inspection. Now I have almost endless hot water supply without wasting gas!
Okay. This will be the last. We also needed to replace our old 80's furnace. The old furnace waked me up every morning with unbelievably loud noise without much warmth. sigh.
Our new furnace is 97.5% efficient and very compact compared to the old system. The estimate from contractors varied from $5500 to $15,000. I just couldn't believe the difference. Of course, all contractors suggested different furnaces but I asked them to give me any furnace above 95% efficiency. I also asked to give me a proper sized one. (I checked and knew the proper BTU size for my home.:)
At the end, I chose the contractor who gave me a good price, and the furnace that had a rebate going on now. They replaced the furnace in two days, repaired some duct works, and installed Nest. Very happy.
Now, it's time for me to go back to work. Yes, my bank account is empty now.
If you are looking to sell or buy home in East Bay, please contact me at 510-409-3472.