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Selecting a Reputable Renovator

Have you seen the television show where the host – an experienced contractor – comes to a home to fix a bad renovation? Episodes typically feature leaking bathroom showers, fallen decks, creaky flooring, and other examples of shoddy workmanship.

For the homeowners, it’s a nightmare.

That’s why it’s so important to select a reputable renovator – one who has the experience and track record to do the job right.

How do you do that? Here are a few tips:

• Make sure the contractor can give you the full name, address and phone number of his company. If he only has a truck and a cell phone, that’s a red flag.

• Ask him to provide you with the names of at least three customers he’s done work for in the area. (Then phone those references!)

• Some specialty contractors, such as kitchen and bath renovators, are certified or licensed by a professional trade association. Ask the contractor for credentials.

• Beware of contractors who offer you a lower price if you pay cash. They’re probably trying to avoid taxes, which suggests that they’re not entirely honest.

• Make sure the renovator has experience with your specific type of project.

• Search for the company on Google.com. If there are any customer complaints online, you’ll find them in the search results.

• Don’t hire the first contractor you meet, regardless of how impressed you are. Speak to at least three. Ask lots of questions. Take your time.

Finally, use your common sense. If you don’t have a good feeling about the contractor or if they don’t give you clear answers to basic questions about pricing, schedule, and warranty, then move on.