Coping with Contractors

Physician's Money Digest, October31 2003, Volume 10, Issue 20

Before You Hire a Contractor: AConstruction Guidebook for Consumers

The Homeowners' Guide toHiring Contractors

Before you engage a contractor to build a new house(or remodel an old one) ask for references—andreview them diligently. Be sure to get opinions from formercustomers whose work was done some time ago, tosee how well the job has held up. Also, check the contractor'sstanding with local building inspectors. Onceyou've made your choice, avoid paying for anything upfront. To protect yourself against the contractor taking ahike, put the money into anescrow account and release fundsas stages of the work are completedand approved. Finally, hire an inspector to assess thework while it's in progress and when it's done. For addedprotection, pick a copy of (Consumer PressInc; 1999) by Steve Gonzalez or (Information Services Group; 1998) byBrett Kennelly at your local bookstore.