When hiring a contractor to work on one’s home or investment property, there can be many options available. From the person recommended by a friend or family member, to the contractor who pops up from a Google search, to someone working with a real estate agent or other trusted professional — there can be a few people to choose from when getting work done. Many Georgia real estate owners think to ask questions about cost, turnaround time and experience when trying to choose between a few options. While these are great considerations, there are also some questions around credentials that should be explored before hiring someone, in order to avoid legal issues down the line.
These include the following:
- A license to complete the task in the state: Every state has different licensing requirements, so it is a good idea to read through the requirements in Georgia and ensure the contractor is allowed to practice the task they are to do. It is important to properly verify the license, rather than just asking if one exists, to fully protect oneself.
- Surety bond: A bond makes sure that the client has an avenue to turn to if the work is incomplete or unsatisfactory. In short, it is a way to file a lawsuit against the contractor without fear that they will not have the money to pay for the damages. Contractors are legally required to have this coverage to varying degrees, depending on the state in which they practice.
- Insurance: Similar to a surety bond, but focused on covering damages, insurance is key to making sure the property owner has options if something goes wrong. Insurance is also a legal requirement for some trades.
Finally, it is critically important to have a solid contract in place when hiring a contractor of any kind. Property is often the most valuable thing people own, so it’s important not to take chances when it comes to having work done. Real estate investors, homeowners and contractors alike can benefit greatly from reviewing the laws and contract details with a Georgia lawyer before entering into an agreement for work.