December 3, 2008  
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Featured Issue: Contractor Selection

Consumer complaints about home improvement contractors now top the lists of all consumer complaints.

Some states regulate home improvement contractors, but many don't. Some states have strong consumer protection services. But, many state budgets these days can't offer much in the way of protecting consumers - especially after the damage has been done.

That's why it is so important to approach hiring a home improvement contractor in a way that will help prevent potential problems, rather than hiring haphazardly and hoping for the best.

Here are the top 5 steps you can take to help protect your interests when hiring:

  1. Know your state's laws regarding contractor licensing and insurance.
  2. Never hire a home improvement contractor without screening their reputations, years in business, licenses, and references, no matter where you heard about the company.
  3. Never agree to pay more than a token deposit in advance for work.
  4. Know exactly what should appear in a good contract, or have your contract reviewed prior to signing.
  5. Never make final payment 'on substantial completion'. Hold at least 15% back for payment when the last punch list item has been completed.

You can find excellent details on each of the above topics in Successful Remodel Resources.

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