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Contractors? How Do You Pick?

   I guess it should be easy for me to find a contractors.  I’m in real estate, so I have had contact with many contractors through home inspections and repairs.  (Good and bad)  I’ve lived here for over 25 years.  Since my home is near I can meet them at the property to get some quotes.  So how do you pick?

   First and foremost, you should rely on someone who has had work done.  They will know if the contractor completed the job in the time promised, in a workman-like way, and was flexible with work order changes.  Sometimes, the cheapest contractor is not the best.  There is a reason why you get what you pay for.

   With the new property, we are planning to add a new kitchen, master bedroom and master bath.  We will almost double the size of the house.  So we started with someone we trust, Paul Burgin of Paul Burgin Builders is our general contractor.  We met Paul at the property and did a walk through and discussed the changes that we thought we would like to make tot he house.  Paul then took a copy of our survey and drew on graph paper a basic plan of what we discussed.  With the basic plan and square footage planned out, we made copies of the survey and layout and have handed them out to several electricians, plumbers, and a heating and cooling company.  Once the quotes come back in, and we decide which professionals to use, they will need to contact Paul to fill out all the permit applications.

   When planning to have major work done, you must go to City Hall and get permits.  When doing a project the size of ours, the entire permit package must be completed.  So the plumber, electrician, heating and cooling permits must all be handed in at the same time with the general contractors information.  Our plans do not require architectural drawings, so we are saving our selves some additional expense there.  Also, when planning our addition, we did not exceed the local zoning requirements for the area.  (These may be found on the City of Cape May website under zoning laws, or the people at City Hall are more than willing to help.)  Since we are abiding by the zoning requirements of the R-1 district, we will not need a variance to build.  Permits do not happen overnight.  The construction official needs time to review the application, and inspect the property.

   In the meantime, we have begun the hopefully magic transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.   Our time frame is tight, because we are looking to get summer rentals booked for June, July and August.

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