05 February 2009

It comes as no surprise that the most complaints from consumer who want to remodel their kitchen was related to homebuilders and home repairmen. This is sometimes because homeowners don't take the time to get a clear understanding of what the work will entail and what the finished job will look like, but very often it's because they do not hire qualified people to do the work in the first place.

So how do you find a good contractor? Start with family or friends. They may recommend someone they have used before.

While nearly all states require licensing for contractors who work on commercial projects, not all states require residential contractors to be licensed.

Even if your state or area does not require contractors to be licensed, it is still a good idea to hire only a licensed contractor to perform the work. It is an easy way to determine whether a contractor has the necessary skills

Generally to get and hold a license, contractors must have :
  1. specified level of training and experience
  2. liability insurance (the amount is determined by the state or licensing locality)
  3. workers compensation insurance
  4. take a number of continuing education courses every year
How to choose contractor?
  1. ask to see not only his license, but copies of the liability insurance and workers compensation insurance policies
  2. Any contractor who cannot provide such documents, is not one you want working at your house.
  3. If a worker is injured on the job while working at your house, you may incur a legal liabilty liable unless the contractor has workers compensation insurance.
Accidents can happen. A pipe could break and cause water damage to your property, or something else could break while a repair is being made. The contractor's liability insurance should cover such damage. If the contractor does not have such insurance, you might face the prospect of having to bring a law suit against the contractor.

Do You Need a Written Contract with the Contractor?
Contracts protect both the homeowner and the contractor from misunderstandings by specifying what the job entails and how much it will cost. Always sign a written contract before making a home improvement transaction, and make sure you understand the contract before you sign it.

A Mechanic's Lien, is a legal claim on your property which gives a contractor (or someone else) the right to keep or sell your property as security for a debt that has not been paid.
However, paying your contractor in full, is not a guarantee that a lien will not be attached to your property.

You may end up paying twice for home improvements if the contractor fails to pay a subcontractor for completed work on your project, or fails to pay a supply company for the building supplies used. The supply company or a subcontractor might try to get its money directly from you by placing a lien on your property.
Most states have some type of Home Improvement laws, which protect consumers in their dealings with contractors. The laws vary from state to state. Make sure you know the law in your state.

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