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Home Maintenance and Repair: Consumer Beware!
Since your home is often your largest and most valuable asset, it makes sense to keep it in good condition. Home repairs can be expensive, so it is important to plan ahead for these costs. Housing experts recommend setting aside 1 to 3 percent of the market value of your home each year to pay for eventual maintenance and repair costs. While you may not need to use this money every year, the accumulated funds can help pay for large expenses, such as a new roof or a new heating/air conditioning unit.
If you decide to hire a home repair contractor or handyman to make needed repairs or to perform necessary maintenance, be careful in your selections. The following guidelines should help you to choose a reputable contractor.
First of all, ask friends to recommend repair contractors.
Secondly, get a least three written estimates for the project. Most contractors give free estimates.
Ask for and check references.
If licensing is required in your area, ask to see the contractorís license. Also ask for proof of insurance and bonding.
Do not pay the contractor in full before the work is done. Some contractors will ask for a small down payment, which is permissible.
Get a signed written agreement before work begins or money is exchanged. The agreement should specify both work and payment schedules. It should also detail the type of work to be completed.
Do not make final payments on the project until the work has been performed to your satisfaction.
Check with your local Better Business Bureau or the state Attorney Generalís office if you have questions or complaints about a contractor.
Source: XPLOR Guidesheet GH5000 HomeWorks: Maintaining Your Housing Investment
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