Should I Give My Contractor Access To My House When I Am Not Home?
Your home is usually your most prized possession. And for good reason, you’ve likely not only spend a good amount of money for that home, but you’ve also given it blood, sweat and tears. Because of this, when it comes to thinking about a remodel, homeowners can be apprehensive about letting many strange people into their house while they are away. In some cases, for retirees or individuals who work from home it is not a concern. However, for the other 90% it is very much a concern. For large remodel projects it is nearly impossible to not give the contractor access as families cannot feasibly be around for every second of a project that might take many months to complete.
We find about 80% of homeowners allow us access via a key or code. The other 20%, we work with accordingly to ensure all are comfortable. In this article, we are going to focus on the families that cannot be home for every second of the project and some steps they can take to ensure a successful remodel.
Give a Reputable Contractor Access
Hiring a reputable contractor is the best step you can take to safeguard your home. Look at past reviews, how long they’ve been established and their presence in the community. Contractor’s such as these are by the book. That means they carry the proper insurance, have workers compensation, pay their taxes and complete background checks on their employees and subs. You can ensure your contractor is license by searching the Iowa Database here. (Tip: To find us type in “Home Worx”)
Hiring a guy off of Craiglist whose background does not exist will of course give you higher probability of problems. Granted, there are plenty of amazing people on Craigslist who offer great services but there is a greater risk of issues occurring.
Check out our article about what to look for in a contractor here for additional tips.
Lockbox / Codes
If you are concerned giving out a key, the best thing you can do is pickup a $20 lockbox at your local hardware store or ask your contractor to install one. This will allow you to stay in control of the key and ensure nobody leaves at the end of the day with the key.
The even better option is to install a programmable lock on your door or have the contractor use your garage keypad. Many of the new programmable locks are able to connect to your wi-fi and your phone. This allows you to see when people come to your house and unlock the door. As well as when they leave and lock the door. You can even can different codes to different people so you know who is at the home and when. This gives your contractor access and gives you piece of mind. The programmable lock is our preferred access method.
One of the easiest things that can be done is to remove the temptation. Valuables should be locked up, hidden, or moved to elsewhere in the house where work is not being performed.
Eliminate the Roaming
Make it clear the only areas in your house workers should be in is the actual area being worked on. There should be no reason individuals are in other parts of your home. Granted, they may need access to the utility rooms to shut off water, power, etc but otherwise people should be contained to the area work is being done.
If you find someone in another part of your house you should contact your contractor to have them deal with it. After all, it’s what you paid them for.
Once the project is complete you should change or delete the code your contractor was using.
Remodeling is a stressful process the way it is. By taking the above steps you can eliminate some of that stress and make for a smoother remodel.
If you are on the fence about whether to give your contractor access, we would recommend you give them access. Some may even require it. Many individuals are needed to complete a remodel and schedules are frequently fluctuating as other jobs get done sooner or later than expected. By having access to the house, it allows work to continue even when you might not be available. This means a quicker project from start to finish.
If you take the above steps you will be in for a successful remodel!