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How can I find a reliable pro?

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So, letís look at eight questions to ask when hiring a pro to make sure they take your home as seriously as you do.

1. What are my options?

Be sure to consider offers from multiple pros and understand what adjustments can be made to each before settling on one. Even if youíre in a hurry to finish a project, itís worth it to take your time to do thorough research on potential pros. The cheapest option may ultimately cost more in damages or repairs, so if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2. How long have you been in business?

Experienced pros will keep your project on track and provide an ideal finished product. Make sure they have a local address and arenít a fly-by-night company.

3. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

Licensing ensures pros have the skills and knowledge to carry out the job, and insurance protects you in the event someone is injured on your property. A reliable contractor will never object to providing this proof in writing.

4. Will you provide a written estimate and sign a contract?

A contract will define the scope of your job and outline details like completion dates, materials and pricing. Be extremely wary of a contractor who wonít put anything in writing.

5. How do you prefer to communicate?

Clear communication will help you stay up to date with your project. Whether itís email, text or old-fashioned phone calls, you want to know the best way to reach them.

6. Can you provide references?

References will provide insight into your proís working habits, customer relations and quality of work. Ask if the job was done on time and at the agreed upon price, how responsive the contractor was and how easy it was to work with them. Itís best if references had work done similar to what you have in mind. You should also look for verified reviews online for a better understanding of the pro and their work.

7. Can you show me examples of past work?

Examples of similar completed projects will prove your pro has the experience necessary for to tackle your request. Make sure examples are a close match for the kind of work you want to have done. This will also give a sense of the proís style and help set expectations.

8. Will you pull all the correct permits?

Permits look like an easy corner to cut, and every so often a contractor will suggest you pull them yourself or just not worry about them at all. This is a big red flag. Even if the work goes smoothly, permits ensure that work has been completed to code, and unpermitted work could cause trouble if you try to sell. A contractor that cuts corners on the permits might do the same on your job, too.

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