Hard hat under cash

Staying off the hook! Get a lien-release form

If a subcontractor or material supplier doesn’t receive payment from the general contractor for her services or materials, she can bring a legal claim against your property by filing a mechanic’s lien. If you have a lien against your home, you can’t sell your house and you probably won’t be able to secure financing until the lien is satisfied or the dispute is resolved.

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A remodeled kitchen

Dealing with the Day-to-Day during Construction

After you’ve hired your contractor, get used to having a lot of strangers in your home. They’ll be there for the better part of days, weeks, or maybe months, so do your best to get along and to stay out of their way. Not that you can’t ask questions, but just don’t become a nuisance.

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contractors remodeling a kitchen

Getting It All on Paper: Drawing Up a Contract

If you’re hiring professionals, you need to be sure that everyone is thinking, talking, and working on the same page; in other words, you need a signed contract. In fact, you should have a contract anytime you pay someone to do work on your home. I’m sure you’ve heard the term but do you really know what a contract is and how it helps you?

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A couple looking at plans with their contractor

Avoid laboring over labor costs

Even if you’re hiring a contractor, you can take on a few parts of a kitchen-remodeling project to reduce labor costs and also free up the contractor to take care of another job she’s working on. And, actually, that’s a good thing: If the contractor has to split her time between jobs less often, she’ll complete both jobs more efficiently.

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A Contractor explaining things to a client

Getting three bids

Just as most people shop around for the best price on big-ticket items and even everyday stuff, so you also should shop around for your remodeling project’s overall price. Get three bids on the project. Why three? Three bids help you identify potential problems, as well as get a good feel for what you’re in for over the next several weeks, maybe months.

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A remodeled kitchen

Interviewing Contractors

After you’ve narrowed the field, you need to ask your candidates some hard questions. Don’t be afraid to really push them (in a civilized way!) for the answers to your questions. Remember the old adage, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.” Well, that statement really holds true here. So, what questions should you ask? Here’s a list to get you started:

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remodeled kitchen

Contracting a Professional

You may find yourself having to contract a professional (or contractor) for all or part of the kitchen remodeling. Hiring someone may seem like a daunting task - especially if you’ve never hired anyone before - but I'll give you some pointers to help you find an experienced and legitimate contractor.

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Do It Yourself? Or Hire A Professional?

In a perfect DIY world, every homeowner would successfully tackle and complete every step of her kitchen-remodeling project all on her own. But unfortunately, many remodeling projects include steps that most folks can’t or don’t want to handle. And if you want your new kitchen to look like a page out of Architectural Digest and not out of Bob and Al’s Pretty Good Ways to Tear Things Apart, you may need to call in professionals along the way.

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kitchen polaroids

Pricing products and gathering estimates

A visit to your local home center is a great place to begin. Don’t be afraid to visit a couple of different stores. Competition is fierce and you may be surprised by what a particular retailer will do (for example, a retailer may give you upcoming or previous sale prices on items or even throw in an item or two at no charge), especially if the store feels it can get your entire order.

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A calculator planning a kitchen budget

Determining the scope of the project

Where and how do you begin? First you need to decide what about your existing kitchen you like and what you want to improve. Then prioritize the projects from most important to least important, keeping the following facts in mind:

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