11 biggest remodeling mistakes

Failing to vet your contractor

Any contractor you hire should be licensed and in good standing. You don’t want them doing a shoddy job that looks bad and can make your home dangerous.

Contractors should have worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Without insurance, an injured worker might sue you since they can’t rely on their employer for help with medical bills and lost wages.

Contractors should also have a surety bond, which guarantees they will follow the law and gives you financial recourse if they don’t.

You can check a contractor’s license, insurance and bonding through your state contractors’ licensing board; call or check the website. The board can also tell you if anyone has filed a complaint about or claim against the contractor.

Ask the contractor for references. Call those clients to ask how responsive the contractor was, whether he stuck to the schedule and budget and how he handled any problems.

Also check Angie’s List, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau for both positive reviews and complaints. Look for trends in what customers report rather than focusing on any one story.