What to Know About: General Contractors »
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
Whether your home needs a complete renovation, or a room needs to be repaired, there are some things to know before you hire.
If only I could give 0 stars. They are terrible at communication. I let them try and rent my property and they failed miserably. It was on the market 2 month and no lease. When I moved to a new company they couldn't even find it advertised anywhere. They should be embarrassed. And to top it off Bev and Tracy are both racist. Extremely uneducated and misinformed
Please understand that all but two of the complaints about United Management are from tenants who were property evicted for either non-payment of rent or continued rental agreement violations. The other two knuckleheads pretend to be Property Owners but are actually vendors who expected to be fully paid for incomplete and sloppy work. Do not be drawn in by these false complaints. As three separate owner groups United Management manages over 150 units for us and does an excellent job, is extremely fair to the residents, the vendors and to the ownership. We highly recommend United Management if you want a well run building with residents who appreciate living in a well kept well run residence.
I want to never rent from FourStar again, and as much as I love the apartment I'm in, I seriously have hated living here as it has meant dealing with FourStar. They will nickle and dime you! When I moved in here, it was clear that they hadn't properly cleaned it. I spent two weeks cleaning grime from fans, windowsills, doors - it was bad! But they considered that clean and never compensated me for my time spent bringing this place back up to snuff. Instead I was charged because of the previous tenants (obviously not the cleanest) clogged the drain and the "maintenance" cleaned it while I was renting (a couple of months after I moved in) so it's my responsibility to pay for - even though I never caused the damage. Speaking of drains, you are not allowed to use the garbage disposals. (When they actually work.) No food, not even citrus peels, can go in them per FourStar. But they still charge the same rent even though you have a non-functioning garbage disposal. Speaking of the kitchen, the dishwasher also has never really worked. Glasses come out with lip prints and spots, dishes look cloudy and gross. Everything has to be pre-washed before putting it in the dishwasher. They "fixed" it by telling my they couldn't fix it... Seriously, I was told to buy more expensive dish washing liquid (no that did not help). They lied and told me this was a non smoking apartment, but the neighbors downstairs smoke indoors... So my apartment reeks of cigarette smoke and dog poop since they crate their dog for 10-12 hours and the poor beast can't wait. Four Star does not care if the other tenants leave dog poop everywhere so if I walk outside (in the heat it is bad) it reeks and it's hard not to gag. So I get to smell it indoors and out! There is rubbish all over the property that they just ignore (broken pallets, a broken office chair, empty plastic bottles of oil, a weight machine). They wanted me to sign early, so I did even though it made me scramble around all day trying to get what they wanted, but the apartment wasn't actually ready. The shower had no faucet and with the holiday weekend coming up, it almost didn't get fixed before my actual move in. That's because they have no dedicated maintenance team - so they pass the costs on to you! Going back to what I previously mentioned, every drain in this apartment has been backed up since I moved in. They have tried to charge me $90 for each time they have come in to clear them. I didn't create any of the blockages, but they sure are going to try and make me pay for it! I get an anxiety attack when something breaks here, and things do often (windows, paneling is falling off the wall, etc.). The garbage disposal for one (because I put Clementine peels in it to make it fresher as it constantly smells). And you will never work with the same person in the office for very long, rotating temps. So you will have to bring up the same thing over, and over, and over to a dozen people. That's how they exhaust you so eventually you just give up and pay them so they can make even more profits on their way over priced apartments. I am already apartment shopping in the area as I really do like the area and my apartment - I just am super sick of dealing with FourStar.
I will NEVER do business with this group again. Becasue their properties have bedbugs and they always told a lie! So disgusting and disappointment. DO NOT rent or buy from this group unless you want to get bedbugs to bite you, waste all your money and time, and go to hospital. Their management is super poor and extreme unprofessional. Be careful! Ann Lampert Realty Inc was incredibly rude. Please read all the people's reviews to this group, such as google reviews and yelp reviews, and you will find out the Ann Lampert Realty Inc is such a really bad, terrible, and awful group. Because their reviews are extreme low on all the review websites. Again, BE AWARE, DO NOT rent or buy from this group!
My wife purchased a brand new home from Gallup Development in July 2017. A week later muddy water began pouring inside finished basement, saturating carpet and penetrating woodwork and walls. Foundation had given away next to house. A few weeks after foundation started caving in on same side of the house in a different area. Then, another issue arose shortly thereafter when water began leaking inside master bedroom that is located on 2nd floor, soaked carpet and ruined baseboard. Another major defect is that on hot days central A/C will only cool top floor to around 84 degrees, and bedrooms on 2nd floor are almost as bad. Builder said “that is a matter of comfort” and refuses to do anything to address the problem. Now that it is winter, on two cold days bedrooms upstairs will not heat to above 64 degrees. This was again reported to the builder with a plea to address. Gallup refuses to do anything. There is no hot water available in the master bathtub. This was reported to the builder. I’m guessing that this is a matter of comfort as well. Now, the siding is warping and bowing all over the house. This was reported to the builder, along with a request that the builder arrange a meeting with the manufacturer of the siding so that proper repairs can be made and warranty remains valid. Builder refuses to cooperate and will not respond. Now, paint has started peeling off exterior areas of the house. It is only a few months old! This has been reported to the builder as well. My wife has now engaged an attorney because of the builder’s refusal to stand behind his product. Be very, very leery of this builder.
I advise you to not trust this business. As previous comments state the owner is rude and only worried about the bottom dollar. I saw the terrible conditions that these low income residents are subjected to. Bed bugs, rats, trash everywhere at her properties. Again, I advise you to take your business elsewhere.
Realm Realty & Management is an absolutely terrible company. I am appalled that any business that operates in the manner that they do can continue to stay in business. Realm Realty & Management's customer service (Shanon) is simply atrocious. Phone calls to customer service do not get answered, nor do they seem to hold office hours (we have waited outside the office). Example: called twice on Monday, three times on Tuesday, two times on Wednesday, and at each attempt a voicemail was left - missed the callback on Wednesday by less than a minute, called back immediately only to be forced to leave yet another voicemail. Infuriating experience.This company deserves negative stars or a large number of black holes, because that is where you can expect your customer service requests to end up.Realm Realty & Management has taken an amazing property and thru their sheer neglect and incompetence we have witnessed the property's decline.
The main office person Shannon is perhaps the rudest human being I have ever encountered. As tenants, we have always payed our rent on time and treated the property with the care we would our own home. This is irrelevant to Realm and especially Shannon, as they seem to treat all tenants as criminals or deviants anytime there is the slightest issue or even inquiry posed to them.In all fairness, most maintenance requests have been handled promptly but do not expect much as far as quality (holes left unpainted & unpatched, mud dragged through your home).They are supposedly under new management but as a tenant you are unable to get a hold of anyone but Shannon. Even though we like our home I cannot recommend this management company due to the complete lack of customer service.Property Owners beware!!! Until they start taking their business seriously and hire competent help, it would be ill advised to have them represent your property.
The most unprofessional realty company I have ever had to deal with. Home I was renting had all kinds of problems and landlord Heidi Wedderburn refuses to answer her phone, texts, or even emails. Dishwasher broke within a week of living there, same with washer and dryer. Water pressure in the house was so bad that you couldn't even brush your teeth while washing clothes. Will never rent from this company again and She also illegally took tenants off of my lease and forcing an eviction on myself and my boyfriend after we were in a terrible car accident. She deserves the worst kind of karma and I hope she gets it.
Bev Church is truly one of the most rude and unprofessional individuals. United Management reflects her poor communication and personable skills as well as how the business cuts corners. On multiple occasions, I have experienced truly disappointing and frustrating encounters.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.