Some home repairs that involve concrete and masonry work, electrical, and plumbing are best left in the hands of those who are skilled. Although DIY work can save you from contractor fees, there are instances when projects are best done by professionals like– to save you from stress, physical work and other technical details. But how can you trust your home in the hands of strangers? Although it’s not unusual to hear fraudulent or sub-par home repair jobs, here’s a basic checklist to avoid that.

1. Ask for recommendations from families and friends who have gone through similar home renovation projects. Local homeowner’s organizations, building inspectors and other relevant business are also great place to start your search. For example, if you’re looking for plumbers or roofing contractors, ask a local hardware shop for recommended companies or teams that have good record with them. Nothing beats great feedback and references.

2. Check out complaints on local business organizations about the contractor you plan to hire.

3. Know about common scams or fraud contractor stories from fellow homeowners. Check for warning signs and scam tips from homeowner groups or sites. There are several forums and business review sites where previous customers tell their stories about scams, or rip-offs on material pricing, or how teams who prolong work. Some contractors use low-quality materials so be sure that you indicate the brand or type of material that you want in the contract.

4. Hire only licensed contractors and those who have insurance. This will ensure that the team you got is running a legit business and that you’re covered if there are any accidents within the duration of the contract. The insurance will also give you warranty on the quality of work, and peace of mind in case you need repairs even when they've finished the construction job months ago.

5. Meet with at least three contractors and get estimates from them. Trust your intuition in case you feel that there’s something not right on the way the contractor transacts. Remember, this is your home that they will be renovating.

6. Don’t jump right in to the first person who gives you the cheapest rate. Get quotes from the contractors you meet and make sure that it will cover everything. Be careful of shady and pushy sales talk, good contractors will usually make a thorough inspection of the house first, and give logical assessment before imposing his rates. It will be an estimate that will cover materials, labor, permits, and other fees. You should allow some percentage for error on the computation, as anything can happen in the process, but in the contract, it should indicate the total agreed amount between you and the contractor’s company.