Avoid a home improvement nightmare

3 tips for hiring a contractor
Posted at 11:45 AM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 11:45:29-05
Every year, Angie's List asks its members what's on their home improvement wish lists. Top of mind for the respondents are updates to bathrooms and kitchens, and creating new outdoor spaces. 
Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List shares some of the findings. "In our annual Angie's List survey we found that people are just as excited this year about remodeling as they have been in the past.  Seventy-two percent are going to spend as much or more to improve their homes this year.
Before you rush to remodel, be aware that the home improvement and construction industry ranked second highest in consumer complaints according to 2016 nationwide survey of state and local consumer protection agencies.  Angie Hicks says, do your homework. "Home improvement horror stories are unfortunately a real thing. But you can find great contractors. You just need to be sure that you watch out for red flags such as prices that are too good to be true."
About a third of the respondents say they'll spend between five-thousand and 20-thousand dollars on their projects. Whether you spend less or more, Angie says research is the best way to make sure each of those dollars is well spent.
You can start your research on-line but Hicks recommends you get at least three written estimates for your project so you can compare prices. Don't discount the importance of being comfortable with the contractor you choose and make it a point to communicate early and often.  Hicks says there are 3 key tips to making the right choice. "My three best tips for hiring a home improvement contractor revolve around payment. Make sure your payments are staggered over the course of the project. Don't pay 100 percent upfront. And always hold back 10 percent until the job's completely done to your satisfaction."
The Angie's List survey was taken in January and follows the annual Joint Center for Housing Studies Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity or LIRA report from last year. The LIRA report predicted renovation and repair spending for 2017 would hit $327 billion. That would be the highest spending annual spending on home services since 2006.