When contractors work in your home, you may be unsure if you should stay in the house. Should you watch over them like a hawk so they’ll do the job you want them to do? Or should you stay out of their way and let the experts do their thing?
You can stay in the house when contractors are working. However, depending on how comfortable you are with them and whether you get in the way, you may choose to go elsewhere. You can always take steps to ensure the safety and security of your property if you need to leave.
You can trust contractors most of the time. However, it’s a good idea to take precautions just in case. Read on for everything you should consider when deciding whether you should stay in the house while contractors are working or get out of their way.
How To Decide if You Should Stay With Contractors at Home
Deciding to stay or go during repair or renovation works at home may not be as straightforward as it sounds.
Here are questions to ask yourself when considering whether you should stick around while contractors do their thing in your house.
Will I Get in the Way of the Contractors’ Work?
You won’t get in the way of a contractors’ work as long as you’re clear with them about your expectations on how they should move about your house. Ultimately, the contractor is a guest in your home. You can follow them from room to room if you want to keep an eye on things.
Make sure you won’t mind the contractor seeing you in your pajamas, making meals around them, and living life as usual.
Some contractors prefer to be left alone without interruptions and small talk, while others may appreciate your availability for questions and updates.
Will I Need To Relocate to a Hotel or Someone Else’s Home?
You’ll need to relocate to a hotel or someone else’s home if the repair or renovation works will potentially pose safety hazards. For example, the contractor may open the windows to let out toxic caulking or paint fumes, but these may still give you a headache or make you feel nauseous.
Do I Feel the Contractor Is Reputable and Trustworthy?
The contractor can be reputable and trustworthy if you do your due diligence on them. Before you hire a contractor, check their online reputation. Ensure that you trust the people working in your home for your peace of mind.
Here’s how to check if the contractor working at your home is reputable and trustworthy:
- Do an online search about the contractor. Granted, there’s no “perfect” contractor. All of them are bound to have at least one negative review. That said, the consensus for a contractor shouldn’t raise red flags.
- Use a free online tool called Angi to find vetted professionals. Through Angi, you can check verified reviews of the contractor’s work, as well as fair pricing for your zip code and area.
- Ask the contractor whether they’re using subcontractors and search for information about the latter online. Even if the contractor has a clean slate, the same may not be true of their subcontractors.
- Call and check with available references. Contractors worth their salt shouldn’t hesitate to give references, especially those willing to provide unbiased feedback about their work.
- Don’t hire the first contractor that comes knocking at your door. Sometimes, “contractors” (who are opportunistic scammers) may drop by to “help out” during times of tragedy (e.g., areas struck by typhoons). Again, always do your due diligence with anyone who drops by your home.
- Ensure your contractor is licensed and insured to cover any loss or damages. That way, if the contractor experiences an accident, you won’t scramble for spare cash to foot their medical (and possibly legal) bills. You can always verify whether their insurance is valid by contacting the listing agent on the paperwork.
- Stay in control of your keys and security system. It’s okay to let contractors move around the house freely if you take the necessary precautions. For example, if you’re concerned about your keys, change your locks after completing the job. You can also purchase a Master Lock Lock Box (available on Amazon.com), which hangs on your doorknob with the access key inside.
- Alert your neighbors. If you have to leave, let your neighbors know when they’ll see contractors at your home and when they definitely shouldn’t.
Does My Contract With the Contractor Lay Out Clear Expectations?
Your contract with the contractor should lay out clear expectations. It should specify the hours they can work at your home, which contractors or subcontractors can go in and out, their do’s and don’ts at your house, upfront costs, etc.
1. Contractor Hours
The contract should set specific hours they can work at your home.
After all, it’s your house, and you can request the times a contractor can start and stop work each day.
For example, you can ask them to work only between 8 AM to 5 PM, or only about eight hours per day max.
2. Subcontractor Work
It’s likely a contractor won’t be at your house daily, as big projects also involve subcontractors and other jobs they manage.
You can request that only certain subcontractors do the work for jobs that involve plumbing, electrical work, etc.
Otherwise, the likelihood of questionable contractors coming and going out of your house will be higher.
3. House Rules
Again, it’s your house, and you have every right to ask the contractors (who are guests in your home) to follow specific rules for the sake of everyone involved.
For example, you can request them to avoid smoking or drinking on your property.
4. Upfront Costs
Be wary of contractors that ask for most of the cost upfront.
They may take your money and run. Instead, offer 10%-20% of the total amount and then pay more when specific tasks in the job description are complete.
Doing this ensures that the contractor will come back to keep working and updating you of any additional costs required.
Can I Afford Time Off of Work To Stay Home?
You can afford time off of work to stay home as long as you’ve made the necessary preparations beforehand. Take stock of everything you need for your quick getaway, and communicate with the affected parties regarding your decision.
Specifically, you want to do the following:
- Make arrangements for a friend or family member to stay in the house in your place to ensure adequate supervision of the contractor.
- Hide your valuables from prying, untrustworthy eyes.
- If you have passwords or travel plans in plain sight, remove them.
- If you use erasable calendars or memo boards, take a picture of the information with your phone to refer back to later.
Most homeowners won’t stay in the house when contractors are working, but it’s your right to do so if you want.
Either way, take steps to ensure your home and belongings are secure.
Stay in control of who and when people come into your house. By doing so, you’ll enjoy the results of the repairs or renovations in your home worry-free.
Cheers, tools owners!