Compass Greater NY, LLC
Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES, Compass Greater NY, LLCPhone: (917) 623-0624
Email: [email protected]

How to Choose the Right Contractor

by Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES 06/27/2021

Photo by Michal Jarmoluk via Pixabay

Home décor and styles change all the time. One of the main things to remember before getting ready to completely remodel is choosing the right contractor. Although there are many contractors in the area, making sure they are able to do the job correctly makes all the difference. What are some things you should be looking for?

  • Recommendations

Getting input from friends and family, or a reputable association of contractors can help you create a list of contractors that could handle your project.

  • Interview

Once you have your list, it’s time to interview those contractors. Ask the following questions: Can you handle a project of this magnitude? Do you have samples of your work? Can I speak to previous clients? Do you use subcontractors? Are you licensed? Do you have insurance? This step can help you narrow the list even further and decide who you want to meet in person.

  • Meet the contractors

Once you’ve established who made the cut, it’s time to have a face-to-face meeting. It’s during this meeting where you will determine whether they are a good fit. They should be able to answer any questions you have with ease, provide their licenses, and start to formulate a quote.

  • Do your homework

Call the references the contractors have given you. Did the contractor ask to see the blueprint when you had your meeting? If they didn’t, they aren’t your ideal contractor. A quote can’t be made if they don’t know what they will be working on. Also, you want to discard the lowball quote. Quality work isn’t cheap.

  • Discuss the project and finances

Once you’ve selected the final contractor and agreed upon the estimate, it’s time to find out how their billing structure is set up. You should never pay a contractor all the money up front. Even with glowing reviews, contractors can slip up. Don’t put yourself in that position.

  • Timelines and agreements

The contractor should be able to provide a firm timeline on what will happen and how long the project will take. Everything you two agree on should be outlined in the contract from the very beginning. This protects your interests. The contract should detail every element of the project, from payment schedules to materials being used. The agreement should include proof of liability insurance, as well. You should require lien releases from the contractor to protect you from subcontractors and suppliers that may go after them if they don’t pay their bills. If there are any changes, it must be outlined in the agreement.

Following these steps should help you choose the right contractor and get the home of your dreams.

About the Author
Author

Ann Marie Damashek, GRI, CBR, SRES

Ann Marie Damashek has always been a natural at helping people prepare their homes for sale. She started out with a successful business selling goods for people on eBay. "Nine times out of ten they were hiring me because they were down-sizing,” Ann Marie says. "So I decided to get my license. I said, ‘Might as well sell their house too.’” The transition was a smooth one and for nine years she’s had a thriving full-time real estate business that allows her to marry her entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for helping others. With an office in Larchmont, New York, she serves all of Lower Westchester County, with her primary market in the Sound Shore region. The majority of her business is "sphere of influence” with former clients referring her to friends and family. A gifted communicator, Ann Marie quickly builds trust and rapport with her clients by being both thoughtful and responsive; she understands that during the purchase or sale of a home, a quick response time is crucial. "I am very accessible,” Ann Marie says. "I always make time for my clients. They can call me, text me, email me up until 10 o’clock at night and I will respond. I’m available on weekends. I get back to people very promptly. I’m very customer service-oriented.” Her clients appreciate her professionalism, passion and enthusiasm and as a result her repeat and referral rate continues to grow each year. While selling real estate is serious business, Ann Marie knows that at times humor and a moment of levity can be a relief to clients. While she has a laidback and easygoing personality, she can be assertive when needed on her clients’ behalf. She loves being of service to them, and the continually changing nature of the work keeps her engaged and fulfilled. "It’s never boring,” Ann Marie enthuses. "Every day is different. That’s probably what I like most about it. But I also enjoy helping people sell or buy and educating them about the process. I love helping them achieve their goals.” This ethic of service has resulted in well-deserved recognition. Ann Marie has received the Westchester Magazine Five Star Real Estate Agent Rating four years running, in 2015 and 2016 she was the #1 agent in her office, and she’s a Zillow 5-Star Premier Agent. To keep in touch with former clients, Ann Marie sends cards to mark special occasions or reaches out via email. To market her listings, Ann Marie uses Multiple Listing Services (MLS), as well as Listingbook.com, a service that allows both agents and their clients access to MLS data. She also uses a Facebook business page and ads to boost new listings or promote upcoming open houses. "That drives a tremendous amount of traffic,” Ann Marie says. She also uses the most popular real estate websites such as Zillow and Trulia. A strong believer in giving back, Ann Marie sits on the Board of Trustees of her church and is involved in a variety of social justice projects. She’s affiliated with Furniture Sharehouse, a furniture bank for Westchester County, which collects and distributes gently used furniture free of charge to those in need. "I love it on so many levels because as a realtor, it’s helps my sellers downsize through charitable donations. I like the environmental aspect of it as well. And it helps people who truly need things.” She’s also involved in Impact 100, a women’s philanthropic giving organization. In her free time, Ann Marie enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. For the future, Ann Marie wants to continue expanding her business and developing her brand, and she someday hopes to grow a strong team. But her main goal is to stay in the real estate business, helping her clients to achieve their dreams.