Finding a house in Bozeman from Temple, TX, appeared complicated. My possibilities for being on the ground in Bozeman (with my wife) would be limited. I needed more than just help. I needed someone who would listen to my needs, be respectful of my budget, and who cared more about the best fit for us than the best deal for him. I needed someone I could trust, someone who was willing to do (more than) a little extra. When I met Tim Hart I sensed that I had found my man, and my experience with him over the past year have proved him to be the best agent I could have possibly had. My first encounter with Tim was through his website, one of the most most user-friendly sites I had found in my frantic searching. The website led to phone conversations. I finally got to meet him personally and felt completely at peace with his style. He is extremely knowledgeable of the market in this area and knows each neighborhood's distinct characteristics. After a couple of viewings he had an uncanny sense of what we were looking for. If we insisted on viewing a property that he was not optimistic about our satisfaction, his instincts proved true every time. And yet he was patient and NEVER pushy. He gave us the time we needed to make decisions that pleased us. We love our new place! However, finding the house we wanted was only the beginning. Perhaps people relocating across town have a much simpler time of transition and need little extra assistance. We were 1500 miles away and totally handicapped when imagining how to put everything together. Tim made it happen. First we had trouble with our mortgage broker. We had been approved through underwriting for a mortgage amount above what we were going to need. It seemed simple. But then the broker hit us with the news that they couldn't finance the home because it was a part of a condominium complex that was only 63% complete. The home is actually part of a duplex in a neighborhood with a broad Home Owners Association that functions as a condo. The final project will be the addition of more quality homes like ours. It didn't matter. We were stuck. Tim to the rescue! He got us in contact with a local bank's mortgage broker and everything eventually came together. He also managed the local connections for inspector, appraiser, blind contractors, and cabinet contractor (we had requested additional cabinets as a condition of sale). He even introduced us to managers of a couple of furniture stores and gave us a tour of The Ridge Athletic Center! An issue I would have never thought of for the inspector was a Radon gas test. Tim insisted on it. Good thing! Our basement had levels above the recommended level and Tim had us include a Radon gas exhaust system as a condition of sale. Now we are safe as well. Tim is a professional, but also a great human being. He cares about people and he works hard easing their load during the stressful times of transition. I have worked with good agents several times in Texas and Saskatchewan, but Tim Hart has been the one with whom I have felt the most comfortable. I feel like I am more than just a client. I not only have a new home in Bozeman, I have a new friend!Bill Fowler
We were looking to purchase a second residence in Bozeman, Montana.The only problem was, or so I thought, is that we live in Southern California. Our only option was to look at properties online and make as few flights as possible. I really wasn’t sure how this was going to go.Not long after a few realtor calls, one person got my attention, Don Carr of Hart Real Estate Solutions. Talking on the phone for a short time gave me a feeling of confidence in him. I can tell you that our experience working with Hart Realtor could not have been any better!Don was patient and professional and he knew the area well. He loved living in the area and wanted to share that with us. We even went on a hike so we could experience the full beauty of the area. How’s that for going above and beyond! Don was more concerned that we were happy and making the right decision prior to placing an offer than just making a quick sale.We flew out twice to look at properties and placed an offer on the second visit. Don ran searches that listed our criteria which we received on a daily basis. All properties were very close to what we were looking for so little time was wasted. One month of searching and we placed an offer which was accepted. So now the closing phase begins. Our account was handled by Tracy Dardis and let me tell you that it ran smoother than a Swiss watch. Tracy gave us a checklist before we flew home with a packet and a timeline on all items that needed to be completed. Things fell into place on a daily basis and we felt confident the whole way through. She let us know of things in advance so we were always prepared.Special thanks to the owners Tim and Lori Hart for putting together such an experienced, caring team and treating us like family.I would highly recommend Hart Real Estate Solutions to anyone looking to purchase a home, property or Condo in the Bozeman area!Best,Susan and Robert Hynes
It was a pleasure working with Tim Hart and his staff at Hart Real Estate Solutions re the purchase of a home and acreage in Bozeman, Montana in 2016. Tim's experience in all aspects of the real estate process lead to a successful purchase.Some examples of superior services and solutions:- Providing a time line and milestones early in the purchase.- Having integrity, local knowledge, and paying attention to detail were helpful .- Having established ties with local companies facilitated property inspection and selection of a firm to handle the closing.- Exhibiting a willingness to discuss anything related to the purchase including truthfully and reliably answering many questions.- Responding honestly when he (or staff) did not know the answer, but always following-up. - Advising when something was really not important so that time and attention could be given to important items.There is one word to describe the service and experience ... "super".
Jaime's attention to detail and willingness to act in our best interest was recognized right away and greatly appreciated throughout the entire home buying process. I have already recommended her to others and will happily continue to do so!
I am new in town and was nervous about finding someone new. I went yo Moxie and was treated like a Queen and also got an awesome hair cut by Angela. This place Rocks!!!
My mom worked with Keller Williams and recommended them to me when it came time to sell my house. They did a very good job selling it! I am happy with my experience.
Everdawn was always making sure I felt comfortable and that I understood all the real estate language, as it can be very overwhelming. They did a great job!
Carolynne and Keller Williams Montana had high ratings and recommendations so they were the obvious choice when were moving back into the area.
Communication was key for me and our realtor did a great job getting back to us if we called or emailed her. She did a great job with out sale.
I would highly recommend Keller Williams in Bozeman to anyone in the area looking to sell a home. The agents there are top notch.
There has perhaps never been a better tool for do-it-yourself home handymen than the internet. With detailed instructions and videos explaining how to perform a number of common maintenance and renovation tasks around a house, an untrained homeowner might be surprised at how much he or she can accomplish with a quick search online. But even with all of this information, there are still many jobs that lie far outside the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. General contractors are there to fill in this gap.
A general contractor specializes in seeing a home remodel or repair project through from start to finish. To do this, the contractor works with the client - whether they are a homeowner or business - to nail down the scope of the work. Then he or she will turn to one or more subcontractors for specific tasks, like equipment operation, design, electrical work or whatever else is needed.
In essence, general contractors could be thought of as middlemen between a homeowner or business owner and any number of specialists. To get their money's worth, many assume they should just "cut out the middleman" and hire specialists directly, but this often proves more difficult in practice. General contractors won't be completing an entire project by themselves, but should have a long list of dependable experts who can work together and accomplish any task. They might also serve as the manager on the site of a construction project, overseeing workers and providing guidance and assistance when needed. For larger projects, though, the contractor might only handle administrative matters and employ a foreman or other professional for on-site supervision.
There are many general contractors who also specialize in certain tasks themselves. There is usually at least one general contractor on hand to organize the construction of an entire home, for example. But general contractors could also help a homeowner add an additional bedroom, build an in-ground pool or complete a major landscaping project. They could also work with a business to add or improve office space, whether that means making more room or converting a commercial building from a nail salon to a restaurant. Basically, if it's a job that involves building or repairing, a general contractor probably knows how to get it done.
No matter what the exact job may be, a contractor will probably need to accomplish several other essential tasks in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which may include:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
Every general contractor performing any kind of work on a project must be licensed to do so in their state. The guidelines for the specifics on licensing vary from state to state. Some states might only require registration of contractors, which is different from licensing. Registration typically means that there must be a written record of what work is being performed and by whom, but it does not guarantee professional knowledge. Licensing, on the other hand, involves an examination process to assess professional competence.
Whether your state requires licensing or registration of contractors, there should be a record of most professionals willing to complete certain projects in your area. Check your state or county website for more information. In states that require licensing, every licensed contractor's contact information is available online or from another public source.
Not every project needs to be completed by a licensed or registered contractor. If it's just a minor job that won't take more than a day or two, and will cost less than a few hundred dollars, it's likely not necessary to find a licensed or registered contractor. However, anything bigger or more expensive, or a project involving plumbing or electrical work, needs to be completed by a licensed or registered professional.
General contractors also must be covered by an insurance policy. This should include liability coverage for any property damage that could be inflicted in the course of a job. It should also include a worker's compensation policy in case anyone is injured on the job. Before hiring a contractor for anything, ask for written proof of this insurance to see exactly what is covered.
A number of trade associations for contractors in the U.S. exist. Some of the biggest include:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
Most trade associations for general contractors will provide references for anyone looking to hire a contractor for a specific project. They may also provide a number of benefits for their members, including assistance with licensing, training, insurance and business development.
Hiring a General Contractor
No matter what you need accomplished, you want to choose a contractor who can get the job done right at a reasonable price. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy general contractor.
Finding general contractors
The first, and perhaps most reliable, way to find a general contractor is to ask friends and family members for a recommendation. If you know anyone who has had major work done on their home, particularly if it's a similar job, ask them who they hired and if they were pleased with the result. You could also ask neighbors about who they've hired if you notice work being done on their house. Many remodeling contractors post signs in front of homes to advertise their services. As a general rule, it's rarely a good idea to hire a contractor who solicits work by going door to door.
If you are considering hiring a contractor without a personal recommendation, ask the contractor for references from past clients, and do as much background research on them as possible. Look for any complaints (or compliments) online to get a better idea of their track record. There are a number of websites specializing in connecting contractors with people or businesses who need work done. These sites may also allow past clients to submit their own reviews of the contractor.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you are both in agreement on the project's budget. It's normal for most contractors to charge clients a premium not only for the labor expenses and zoning expertise, but for acquiring the materials as well. Be as clear and concise as possible regarding what you'll be purchasing yourself and what you will be paying the contractor to complete. Homeowners may be able to find a better deal on raw materials when they purchase these directly, but they first need to be sure they aren't buying the wrong things.
Don't forget to discuss how the project will be finalized and what will be done about cleanup. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure to follow any state and local regulations regarding construction work, which includes hiring a licensed or registered general contractor. Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Perhaps the best way to feel safe about a contractor and the work being done is to hire a contractor you trust. This is why relying on personal references from friends and family is so important, and will often provide a great deal of peace of mind. If you aren't able to obtain a reference, work to conduct extensive research on the contractor as well as the work you are hiring them to perform. This should bring everyone's expectations into alignment and result in a safe work environment.
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work to be done and all costs are listed in the contract, right down to the most precise details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
Once the specifics of the job are nailed down, be sure to discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. This is important because paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule with the contractor, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. It's a good idea to include this payment plan in the contract as well.
Finally, look into getting a lien release signed before work begins. If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. This can trigger a long legal process that may be frustrating. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered. A lien dispute could also be prevented by performing due diligence prior to picking a contractor, as any contractor with good credit and a long track record of satisfied clients should have no trouble paying for materials and labor once all contract conditions have been met.
Once work is underway, it's never a bad idea to check up on the progress of the job, either by staying in touch with the contractor over the phone or visiting the site in person. If you work with a trustworthy professional, it's probably best to keep your distance and allow everyone to stay busy. If you want to keep an eye on things, make sure workers wear the right safety gear and that everything looks to be moving along according to schedule. Finally, once work is finished and you are satisfied, be sure to thank your contractor and tell friends or family members about your experience.