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HOW TO FIND AND HIRE CONTRACTORS

By: Karen Behfar



Arranging home improvements is a great way to add value to your property and to your life but finding a reliable contractor to do a high-quality job isn’t always easy. With so many contractors claiming they’re the best individual for the project, how are you meant to pick the best one?

Ideally, you’ll be able to seek out a referral from a trusted friend who had similar work done on their property, but if this isn’t possible then you’ll need to find a highly recommended contractor by searching through online reviews.

It’s easy enough to fake a review, so only take notice of the accounts that you can trace the identity of. “Angie’s List” is a good source, because anonymous reviews are not allowed and the website checks to see if the reviewer actually used the contractor. Google and Yelp are also useful sources.

It’s worth comparing the prices of three or four contractors before making your final decision on who to use. Don’t settle with the individual who charges you the least. Choose the professional who you’re most confident about getting the job done properly. Botched home improvements can end up costing homeowners far more money, time, and stress than they had previously imagined. Being tight when hiring a contractor is a great example of being “penny rich and dollar poor.”

If you can, set out a payment plan that allows you to hand overthe majority of the fee after the job is done. Legitimate professional contractors should be happy to negotiate a deal like this.

Credit Score –
What It Means and How to Improve

Your credit score is a figure used by lenders to determine how risky it will be for them to lend money to you. It is used to determine whether you’re eligible for a mortgage, a credit card, a car on finance, or even a mobile phone contract. A poor credit score can therefore restrict you from a lot of opportunities in life.

Your credit score is based on your financial history and how reliable you have been when making payments that you signed up for. If you paid all your bills on time for the past five years, it’s likely you have a high credit score, and companies will be happy set up a direct debit or approve a loan. If you’ve missed even one payment, this can harm your credit score and ring alarm bells in the heads of lenders, especially if they’re considering a high-value loan such as a mortgage.

It’s important to know that having no credit history is just as harmful as having poor credit history. Lenders want proof that you are reliable at paying back loans, which is why first-time buyers are often advised to set up a few direct debits or use a credit card responsibly for a couple of years before applying for a mortgage.

It is commonly believed that individuals have one credit score that is checked by all businesses whenever a loan application is made. The reality is that most companies have unique algorithms to check an applicant’s creditworthiness. However, there are credit score checking services, from the likes of Experian or Noddle, that will give you a basic idea of how likely you are to be approved for a loan. Bear in mind that having your credit score evaluated by a company will damage your score, so it’s recommended not to switch banks accounts or take out a credit card before applying for a mortgage.