—Get estimates: Though your situation might seem to be one of desperation, avoid settling on the first contractor who comes along and offers to do the job. Take enough time to get at least a few different estimates on the job.
—Get it in writing: Be sure the contract you sign includes the price, materials to be used and the timeline for completing the job. This is often the best ammunition you have if things go wrong.
Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care.
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