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Owning a home is a serious financial investment that requires general upkeep, emergency repairs and optionally, remodeling. To get the job done, consumers look to home improvement contractors, plumbers, electricians, landscapers and other trades to perform the necessary work.

Before undertaking any repair or improvement, regardless the size, homeowners should follow some basic steps in procuring the services they need, but also understand their legal rights and the protections within that context.

Whether a homeowner is hiring a building contractor, a plumber or electrician, advance planning is highly recommended. It's important to:

  • Define objectives and specifications
  • Research designs and materials
  • Get three estimates and references
  • Ask questions
  • Hire only licensed and insured tradesman
  • Get a written contract and be sure both parties sign it before any work is started
  • Review work as it is undertaken
  • Ask questions

For additional suggestions and steps on working with contractors and tradesman, read about