Your home is your biggest investment, so when major repairs need to be made, you should choose a contractor carefully, and it should be someone you trust. Here are five tips to help you find a reliable and qualified contractor:
- Ask Others -Ask for recommendations from your friends, neighbors, and family members.
- Interview Potential Contractors - Ask contractors for references, and be sure to check the references after you get them.
- Check Their Work History - Call your local Chamber of Commerce and ask for information about your contractor's work history. You can also do research on sites like the Department of Consumer Affairs or on customer review sites like Angie's List. Even a basic internet search can give you information about them.
- Ensure They're Insured - Contractors should be able to provide proof of liability insurance coverage, which will cover property damage or third-party injury that occurs at your home. They should also have workers' compensation insurance. Check to see if they are licensed with the state as well.
- Ask for a Contract - Require a written contract, including payment terms, but don't sign it until you fully understand it. You should also ask for a lien release before making final payments. This helps you keep track of any outstanding money the contractor owes on the project so a lien can't be filed against your property later. Watch out for contractors who insist on a large down payment. Finally, at the end of the job, only pay the work that has been completed.