As you’re remodeling your home, you might face pressing worries. This is normal! You’re spending a significant amount of money to change the look and functionality of your home, and experiencing some stress while everything is in disarray. It’s normal to be worried about the results, and whether everything will turn out how you expect.

You can help the process run more smoothly by investigating important factors before starting work with your contractor. In particular, ask them these five questions to get things off to a good start.

Are you properly licensed and insured? Unfortunately, plenty of handymen are passing themselves off as contractors, and some of them perform substandard work. Make sure your contractor is appropriately licensed to do the work you’ve requested, and that any subcontractors they use (such as a plumber or electrician) are also licensed.

Likewise, your contractor should carry liability insurance to cover anything that might go wrong. They should also be protecting their workers with an insurance policy, so that your homeowners insurance isn’t stuck with a claim due to accidents or injuries.

Can you provide me with references? A good contractor will be happy to supply you with the names and numbers of a few recent clients, who can report satisfaction with their work.

What is the full, step-by-step plan? A quote for the project is helpful, but not all that you need to know. Your contractor should be able to explain each step in the process in detail, along with timelines, so that you know what to expect and approximately when each step should be completed.

Why is your quote lower than the other guys? It’s tempting to go with the lowest quote you receive, but a substantially lower quote should give you pause. Ask this contractor, very directly, why their quote is so much lower than the others you received. A low quote is sometimes due to inferior materials, lack of insurance, or some other factor that you want to avoid.

How much deposit is required? Most contractors do require a deposit before beginning work.  In California, the law is a 10% deposit or $1,000, whichever is LESS.  A large deposit could be unfair or a sign of a problem.

If you’re considering a remodeling project, give us a call to discuss your plans. We’re always happy to answer these questions, and any others that you might have.