5 Things to Never Tell a Contractor

Contractors may be your client's go-to person during a home renovation. To ensure things go smoothly, warns of a few phrases homeowners should never say to the contractor, including:

  1. "I'm not in a hurry."
    It's nice not to pressure the contractor and create good feelings, but this phrase suggests that the contractor and crew can take as much time as they'd like with the home project, Victoria Shtainer, a residential expert at Compass New York, told Time is often money and convenience.
  2. "We had no idea this would be so expensive."
    "There is no worse feeling than bidding on a project, feeling good about your bid, and learning that the budget for the project is set unreasonably low," says Nathan Outlaw, CEO of Onvico Inc., a general contracting company. "A good lesson for contractors and owners is to always get the money talks started during an early conversation."
  3. "I'll buy my own materials."
    Contractors are often eligible for better pricing on materials. Still, "it isn't necessarily a bad idea to check what materials a contractor is using for things like the subfloor or cabinets," Outlaw says. "But trust them to use a good, well-established supplier to have the materials brought to the job site."
  4. "I'll pay up front."
    Don't take away your bargaining card from the start. A contract between you and the contractor will ensure the contractor will get paid, but make it contingent on the job being done to your satisfaction. You want to be able to hold the contractor accountable for the work they do.
  5. "I'm old-school. We can use a handshake."
    "When a client says this, I know it's time to run for the hills," says Outlaw. "There should never be any fear about getting the scope of work and payment terms in writing." A contract protects you and the contractor from the project being done on budget and in a timely manner. Get everything in writing first.

New Home Buyers: Act now before Cost of Construction Goes Up

The cost of building materials jumped 25 percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Home Builders' NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, and builders are increasingly concerned about how this will affect homebuyers in the new-construction market.

In 2016, builders ranked building material costs low on their list of concerns – but now it's one of their top five issues.

The increased cost of lumber is a chief catalyst.

"Negotiations on a new softwood lumber agreement between the United States and Canada ground to a halt at the end of 2016 and likely are stalled pending the results of an investigation into unfair import practices requested by the U.S. Lumber Coalition," NAHB reports.

Because of the lumber problem, homebuyers will likely face price hikes.

According to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, builders cited the following as the 10 most significant problems they expect to face in 2017:

  1. Cost/availability of labor: 82%
  2. Cost/availability of developed lots: 67%
  3. Impact/hook-up/inspection or other fees: 61%
  4. Building material prices: 60%
  5. Federal environmental regulations and policies: 52%
  6. Local/state environmental regulations and policies: 52%
  7. Regulation of banking/financial institutions: 48%
  8. Development standards (parking, setbacks, etc.): 47%
  9. Inaccurate appraisals: 46%
  10. Health insurance: 40%