Tips

Twelve Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

1. Get at least 3 written estimates.
2. Get references and call to check on the work. If possible, go by and visit earlier jobs.
3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
4. Be sure that the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
5. Make as small a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.
6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
7. Be sure that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within 3 business days of signing it.
8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will do parts.
9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet local building codes or regulations.
10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
11. Guarantee that materials used meet your specifications.
12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.

Twenty Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows and cut down on light.
2. Buy a new doormat.
3. Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
4. Put new doorknobs on your doors.
5. Put a fresh coating on your driveway.
6. Edge the grass around walks and trees.
7. Keep your garden tools out of site.
8. Be sure kids put away their toys.
9. Buy a new mailbox.
10. Upgrade the outside lighting.
11. Use warm, incandescent light bulbs for a homey feel.
12. Polish or replace your house numbers.
13. Clean your gutters.
14. Put out potpourri or burn scented candles.
15. Buy new pillows for the sofa.
16. Buy a flowering plant and put it in a window you pass by frequently.
17. Make a centerpiece for your table with fruit or artificial flowers.
18. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
19. Buy new towels.
20. Put a seasonal wreath on your door.