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Q: How to avoid pitfalls when hiring contractors

A: I met with a home owner the other day for a consultation. During the conversation, she shared her experience with a handyman/contractor, and she wasn’t very pleased with the quality of work. She had hired this company about a year prior to our meeting.

That meeting inspired me to share tips to avoid frustration, disappointment and expectations unmet.

When hiring a contractor, I recommend that you get very clear in writing prior to giving any money. A simple one page contract will do. Questions to answer in this contract:

  1. What are they being hired to do?

    What is the scope of work? More detail is always better. The intention is to get as clear as possible before the work begins, so everyone is on the same page about what is expected. Details are your friend. Who’s responsible for clean up, disposal of trash, etc?

    Depending on the job, you may also want to specifically list out the brand and model of what’s being purchased. Example: dishwasher install - don’t leave it up to the contractor to select it. A staircase being installed - what are the specifics on materials? Are they buying the cheapest thing available?

  2. How much is labor and material?

    How much is labor cost and material cost? This protects all parties. Sometimes homeowners want to add things to the scope of work during the middle of the job. This is an opportunity to PAUSE - and create a CHANGE ORDER or an amendment to the contract. If the scope of work changes, so does the cost.

  3. Who is perform the work?

    Name the company, contractor, license number, insurance information.

  4. When will the work be completed? When is money changing hands?

    Deadlines and consequences laid out in the contract should it not be done in time. Consequences could be financial penalties to the contractor for missing the deadline. Daily rate, reducing their payout.

    Lay out the payment schedule. Perhaps 25% up front for materials, and draws based on work completion and passing inspections. I don’t usually hire contractors that ask for 50% up front.

    This is based on the scope of the job. Some jobs of $500 are treated differently than $50,000+ etc.

  5. Where is the work being done?

    Provide the address of the property in your contract.

    I hope this helps! If you need further assistance, or would prefer to hire a consultant to help you hire contractors and manage the work, feel free to reach out!

    Chrissy Kirkwood 714.423.8422

    Principal Broker of Kirkwood Property Group


Q: How much do I save in commission on a $270,000 house?

A: We just helped 3 sellers in the same price range. 270-275k range. Guess what! Each one saved about $6200 in commission by listing with Kirkwood Property Group. We care about our sellers and our community. What can each family do with an additional $6200.00 ?!?! <3

Do you love and support what we’re doing?

Tell your friends, family and co-workers! We want to help more people save money and apply it towards their passions.

We can have tea or coffee, and chat about your goals in real estate, and any questions you may have. We’re laid back and chill, but we also really know our stuff. I’ve been in real estate for 13 years in Nashville, TN!


Chrissy Kirkwood


Q: Does it make sense to accept an offer the first day your home is on the market?

A: This question should be answered in one of two ways. 

If the seller wants limited showings, then the answer is yes. Why would a seller want limited showings you ask?  If a seller has children or pets, limited showings may be their preference.

If someone wants the highest possible price for their home, then accepting an offer the first day may not be in their best interest. 

This happened recently on one of our listings. The seller did not accept or counter the first offer, and by the end of 4 days, there were multiple offers on the table, and they got more than list, and more than the initial offer :)


would you buy a duplex?

There are many benefits to buying a duplex.

You could live in one unit, and rent out the other to a short or long term tenant.

You could tear all the walls down of the existing duplex, turn it into one big unit, and build a second one in the back.

You could offer affordable artist housing units with the duplex.

We’re fans of “mailbox money.” How can you make money while you’re sleeping?

real estate investments, through rentals and renovations have been a good source of income for us. Want to know more? Let’s have coffee!