Kimberly Wingfield: Philly Real Estate Agent
Kimberly Wingfield

What Should My Home Improvement Projects Cost? And How Do I Hire A Trustworthy Contractor?

By now, most regular readers of this blog are well aware that I’m a big fan of rehabbing homes to give them a new lease on life – either on a DIY basis or with a 203k mortgage to roll all home-improvement related costs into the overall price of your house.

Whether you’re rehabbing a home from the ground up or just in need of some typical homeownership-related contractor assistance, one major sticking point is cost. If you don’t regularly deal with contractors in your area, how do you know what a fair price is for a given job? How do you know the contractor is likely to be trustworthy? Is there an objective metric to help guide you through?

In short: YES! is my personal favorite site to give anyone an idea of what a given price should be for a particular task – just search for the job you have in mind, add your zip code, and the site will give you a range of prices from low end to high that you can expect to pay. This is a FANTASTIC way to compare and contrast any quotes you’re given by a pro for their services, and it should be noted that you should always solicit a minimum of three to five quotes from different contractors for their services before settling on a given outfit to help you.

When hiring a contractor, bear these things in mind:

  1. If the contractor tells you something that doesn’t make sense to you – or seems totally frivolous – and can’t give you a clear, concise explanation as to why a certain service or step requires professional assistance, run the other way. For instance, I’ve had one condescending jerk tell me that simply determining which circuits go where in my 900 s/f house would cost $900 – and it was going to be totally necessary to complete any other work that I needed. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job. I had another condescending moron tell me that somehow 1/4″ drywall wouldn’t be a good replacement material for my ceiling; 1/2″ material would need to be used, thus rendering my ceiling weirdly uneven at the halfway point. (I’d previously had some mold remediation done, and needed half the ceiling replaced after the original plaster had been removed.) This guy was obviously trying to pad the job by ripping down the other half of my ceiling – and tried a number of other shady and condescending tricks before I asked him to leave. Both of these contractors had decent ratings on places like Yelp and Angie’s List, so it just goes to show you that while those reviews can indeed be super-helpful, (and I would NEVER recommend hiring a company with consistently poor reviews,) your experience may not be as rosy – and it’s important to trust your gut on these things. Always bear in mind that Einstein once said “It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.” If someone who does a certain job for a living can’t explain what they want to charge you hundreds or thousands of dollars to do in a clear way that makes objective sense, they’re either liars or they don’t understand their profession very well. A good contractor will always explain what they intend to do and how they intend to do it like you’re a reasonably intelligent adult. Never settle for anything less!
  2. Quotes for most homeowner-related jobs should always be free. If the work is straightforward and objective in nature (replacing an electrical panel, demolishing and removing plaster, patching a roof, replacing tile, etc,) a contractor should be able to look at the extent of the work involved in your particular situation and tell you what they would charge to fix or replace something.
  3. Your contractor of choice should always be licensed and insured by the proper state governing body, and should ideally have solid customer reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, and/or As I mentioned earlier, even well-reviewed places may not necessarily always deserve their accolades, but those review sites are usually a decent way to weed out the places that’ll just waste your time and money.

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About Kimberly Wingfield

Picture of Kimberly Wingfield

Kimberly Wingfield

Real Estate Agent

267-530-5641267-530-5641 main

Virtual Realty Group

1418 Robinson Rd, Havertown, PA 19083


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