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Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Hiring construction and remodeling services you can trust

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There are many motivations for taking on a remodeling project -- improving curb appeal, adding new features to a room, updating your interior, etc. Before starting construction or remodeling project, homeowners need to consider carefully who should work in your home. There are also some specific things to consider before work begins.

Plan your project from start to finish. Talk to friends or family members who have had remodeling work that you like. Try to find pictures of what you like to show the contractor what you want. If you are leaving any decisions up to the contractor, make sure you put budget and material requirements in the contract.

Figure out your entire budget. Don’t forget things like eating out more than usual if you are doing a kitchen remodel, or hotel expenses if you will have to move out of your home during any of the work. Expect to have a little extra money in the budget to cover any unexpected expenses, especially when working on an older home.

Decide if you need to split the project into phases, based on how the budget is shaping up. If the contractor arranges financing for the remodeling work, be sure you understand all aspects of the terms, especially if you are taking out a second mortgage on your home or a home equity line as security.

Inspect prior work. When you talk to potential contractors, ask them for examples of work they have done that is similar to what you want. Find out if it is possible to contact previous clients and to inspect the work that was done for them. You will also want to ask the client if the project was finished on time, if they were satisfied with the work, and if there were any unexpected costs added during the project. Ask and check to see if the contractor is licensed and bonded in your city and state to perform the work.