For most people, their house is not just a home; it is their greatest investment. That is why hiring a contractor can be such a liability. A bad contractor can put you in a terrible spot and end up costing you not just money, but maybe even injuring you or someone you love. Before you hire a contractor, it is important that you reduce the likelihood of getting stuck with poor construction by doing the legwork up front. These tips can minimize the potential that you find yourself in a bad-construction nightmare.

Know exactly what you want

If you want to have a renovation project done, the first step is to define exactly what it is that you want. If you only have a series of “ideas” with no concrete details, then finding the right contractor is going to be difficult. The scope of any project will define what type of expertise a contractor or builder needs. If you aren’t sure of what your project entails, then you will have a hard time finding the right professional to do the job.

Should you hire a contractor?

Some people decide to do their own home renovations. It can be a huge advantage to your pocketbook, but it might not be the smartest decision. Contractors are responsible not just for scheduling and choosing subcontractors for the project, but they are also liable if something isn’t done correctly. If you don’t have a contractor, there is no way to ensure that the subcontractors that you hire have done things correctly, which can put you in a vulnerable position. If you are doing a large-scale renovation, the extra cost of hiring a contractor is excellent insurance that you won’t end up with bad construction.

Call an architect

Architects exist to ensure that buildings and structures are sound and safe. They are trained to know how things go together and to design structures that can withstand pressure, the environment, and nearly anything that nature can throw at it. If you don’t have an architect to make sure that your structure is sound, you can run the risk of tampering with the integrity of your existing home. Once you compromise the integrity of any home or structure, it can become highly dangerous. To protect everyone, hiring an architect is necessary to ensure that things are done to code and are safe for you and your family.

Ask around

If you know people who have had work done on their house in the past, ask if they have any recommendations. You would be surprised at how quickly people will share their experiences -- both good and bad. Talking with members of your community will not only ensure that you hire a reputable contractor for your Winnipeg home renovation, but they can also help you avoid any contractors that aren’t so reputable. Word of mouth is much better than any internet search, internet review, or advertising that you find elsewhere. Ask around to find out which contractors are a good idea to hire and which ones are not.

Do some real research

Reading internet reviews might help to find a contractor, but be careful. Sometimes internet reviews are nothing more than paid advertising. Not everything you read on the internet is true. If you want to know how good a contractor is, go to the building inspection office in your area and ask for a referral. Building inspectors are the best resource for people looking for contractors with good reputation -- and will also know of those who don’t. Other places to research include contacting the Better Business Bureau or even checking with the Chamber of Commerce in your town. The more research you do, the more you will ensure that you won’t get stuck with bad construction on your project.

Your home is not just where you live; it is likely your greatest investment. Make sure to protect it by finding the best contractor for your home renovation project. It is important to know what you are looking for, the scope of expertise needed and to decide if you need a contractor to ensure that the work is done well.