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Renovation advice: Selecting a contractor to carry out home improvements

With Croí Laighean Credit Union

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Renovation advice: Selecting a contractor to carry out home improvements

Croí Laighean staff members at the Annual General Meeting 2019 (from L-R) Andrew Forde, Catherine Boyce, Charlene O'Shea

From new paint and furniture to a bigger garden — there are many ways you can update your house to make it feel more like a home. If you’re considering making bigger changes by renovating, adding rooms or even structural changes like a new roof, then you need to hire the experts to ensure your project is successful. Here are some quick tips to help you select the right contractor for your home improvement project:

1. Look for accredited providers

When selecting a building contractor, it is easy to be tempted to search online or in the phone book. A better approach is to search for accredited providers on the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI.ie) to ensure they are appropriately qualified.

If you ask family and friends for reliable recommendations, always check this register to ensure they are competent and can carry out the works to the required standard. If they are not registered and something goes wrong, it may be more difficult to pursue them for a solution.

2. Link costs to key milestones

Once you have a shortlist of potential contractors, invite them to assess the works so they can give you an idea of the costs involved — even the hidden expenses! Ask for a detailed list of itemised fees linked to the completion of key milestones, so you can track and monitor as your project progresses.

When creating your budget, leave 10-15% for unexpected snags and costs which will pop up. If you need personal credit to bolster your finances, Croí Laighean CU offers loans to suit all budgets and top ups on existing lending agreements. We provide flexible options tailored to each member's repayment capacity, with interest rates as low as 5% (T&Cs apply).

3. Communication

We’ve all heard about the builder that doesn’t show up or return your phone calls. Aside from creating unnecessary stress and delays, these contractors are unlikely to give early warning if something goes wrong or needs to change during the project.

Before selecting a contractor, try to determine how openly they communicate and how honest they are willing to be. It is far better to have a contractor who tells you how they fixed a past mistake, than one who pretends to be perfect.

4. Monitor and react

Even though you have checked the trade register and selected an accredited provider, always be vigilant regarding the standard of works being conducted. If you have concerns or questions, raise them quickly and assess the quality of your contractor’s response to this. If they seem to be making excuses or it just doesn’t feel right, then don’t take the chance — part ways and find another who can work to the standard required.

If home improvements are on your agenda, don’t delay any further. Croí Laighean CU offers a range of flexible loans to suit all home improvements, from garden renovations, painting and floors to house extensions. Contact our lending team in branch, on 1800 23 24 25 or www.clcu.ie to learn more.