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When considering a remodeling project there a few things you need to do before calling contractors.

1. Define the Project

Determine what area or areas of your home you want to remodel and do some research online and on television to form ideas of the features you want in your new room. Make a list of furniture, appliances, colors, and designs that appeal to you. Next, create a picture collection of your choices. Make a sketch of where items in the room might be placed.

2. Make a List

Make a list of local contractors and check out their Better Business Bureau or Google ratings, web sites and Facebook pages and ask your peers for their referrals. Narrow the list down to three that you would like to call about your project. Set up appointments to meet and discuss the project.

3. Impressions

Was the phone answered in a timely manner. If you need to leave a message, was it returned? Did the contractor arrive on the day agreed upon and on time to review your project? Does the contractor listen to your ideas and make suggestions? Ask for references that you can contact.

4. Estimate or Fixed Bid

Most contractors will take a few days to a few weeks to work up an official estimate or bid depending on the size of the project. If it is an estimate, make sure that you understand that the final cost may be more or less. If you get an estimate, make sure that it is detailed with estimates for costs of each part of the project. You should specify in writing that you are to approve any costs over the estimate. If you receive a bid, it should also list detailed costs of each part of the project.

5. Payment

A payment schedule should be part of the written estimate or bid.  You should be prepared to pay up to 50% of project costs at the beginning of the project. Some payment schedules ask for additional payments as parts of the project are completed. Whatever schedule you and your contractor agree on, it should be signed by both parties.