Are you getting ready to switch out the windows in your home? Maybe you’re been saving up for months just for this project. Or, if you’re like millions of homeowners, you’ve taken out an equity loan to spruce the place up, improve overall energy efficiency, make your house look great, or just to replace older, outdated windows all around.
Whatever the reason, it’s essential to choose a window contractor Fairfax homeowners know and trust. That means knowing what kinds of questions to ask, understanding the basics of the industry, and taking the time to plan the project before jumping into things.
Do Your Own Research First
Yes, it makes sense to “interview” prospective window contractors, but that is really the second phase of your operation. The initial step is gathering as much information as possible via online hunting and sleuthing. And there’s plenty to find.
The following categories are just a few of the most essential “due diligence” tasks for you to take on. Don’t worry, they won’t take long, and they cost absolutely nothing. Here’s how to begin:
- Tap Into Your Personal Network: Speak with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and relatives who have had recent work done on their homes. If they have experience with a particular contractor, and have good things to say, make a note of the company’s name. Be sure to reference your personal connection when you speak with the contractor later on. This is one of the fastest, most reliable, and most common ways that homeowners find excellent window professionals.
- Hunt For Real Reviews Online: Spend time online reading reviews, but be aware that there are a lot of “fake” ones out there. The best way to beat the false review game is to visit lots of different sites. After a while, you’ll get a feel for the ones that are legit. Some of the better contractor-review sites charge fees to read their content. There’s no need to pay because plenty of no-cost review sites are enough to give you an ideal of who the top local service providers are.
- Make a Few Phone Calls: Hit the phones, but make it clear with contractors’ reps that you’re only checking out quick quotes on general window work. You’ll learn a lot by doing this, including how attentive and polite the company reps are, how fast they answer the phone or return calls, and whether they have any experience with windows. Remember that some of the online ads you see can be a bit misleading. Some contractors call themselves “window specialists” even when they do very few window jobs per year.
- Check Out Websites: Websites can convey a lot of information. In addition to all the standard data like years in business, size of the company, and how they got started, a website can reveal even more. Sites that look sloppy, unorganized, and are hard to navigate tell you that the contractor might not pay close attention to detail. Likewise, sites that are informative, honest, organized, and offer lots of useful information are a sign that you’re dealing with a professional organization, or at least one that cares about the impression they make. That’s no guarantee that they’re a top-notch window contractor, but it’s an encouraging start.
Ask Pertinent, Relevant Questions
When you get down to having a short list and finally begin phoning a few contractors, knowing what questions to ask is half the battle. Here are some targeted ones to start out with. Don’t forget to write down the responses you get. Later on, you’ll be better able to make comparisons if you take detailed notes.
- How inclusive are your estimates? What if there are some unexpected features about the job that could raise the price?
- What percentage of your income is based on window replacement work, compared to other kinds of home improvement jobs?
- How many years have you been doing this kind of work?
- In your opinion, what are the top three reasons homeowners should get windows replaced, in terms of immediate and long-term benefits?
- When you do the work of replacing my windows, how does your team avoid disrupting my family’s daily activities? Do we need to vacate the premises during any phases of the job?
- May I have the names and contact information of several of your former customers?
- Are there certain styles of windows that would enhance the look of my home’s particular design features?
- Can you please explain the details of your company’s warranty? Also, do you offer warranty protection for workmanship, installation, and the windows themselves?
Making Your Home Look Fantastic
Remember, there’s a lot you can do to make your home look better, but adding modern, efficient, attractive windows is a big part of the immediate impression your home makes on others. This is especially true if you plan on selling within the next few years. In fact, one of the keys to a quick sale is the eye-appeal factor.
The time to act is now, before rising prices send the cost of materials and labor higher. Connecting with a reliable, competent window contractor makes all the difference. Plus, timing is everything because the best of the best window contractors make their job schedules far in advance.
Do your homework now and start hunting for a contractor who can do the kind of work you need. Getting new windows can completely change the look and feel of a home. It’s hard to think of a better way to invest in your home, sweet home.
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