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Hiring Help

 

Let's face it, home projects can be expensive. You may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. For small projects, that may be a smart move. You don't have to wait for someone else to fit your house into their schedule, and you can take pride in doing the work yourself. Unless you're particularly handy, however, large home improvement projects are better left to the pros.

 

 If you're remodeling the kitchen, ask yourself if you can handle the plumbing, electrical and carpentry work. And don't forget that you need to finish it all quickly, because in the meantime you'll be without a kitchen and eating out can be costly. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time and you're responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and inspections.

 

Hiring people who have experience can save you money and time, too. For example, these professionals can help you get a custom look using stock products, and that can be a significant savings.Getting something done right--the first time--will give you value that lasts for years.

 

Word-of-mouth is a good way to start looking for home improvement specialists. Check with friends, business associates and neighbors for recommendations. Always ask for at least three references - and check them out.

 Check, too, with your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.

You can find the number in the community services section of your telephone book. Make sure everyone is in agreement about design, schedule and budget.

 

Get the details down in writing in a signed contract. You'd also be wise to check on professional certifications and state licenses, where required, and insist that any contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded.

 

 Contact your town or city Building Department for information. In particular, make sure contractors carry workers' compensation insurance so that if any workers are injured on the job, you won't be held liable. Ask for a copy of their insurance certificates. Also make sure that you or the contractor secure any necessary permits before beginning the work. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.