What guarantees can you give me?
Like the per payment lien releases we discussed on a previous page, warranties are a smart way to make sure you'll leave the table happy. In addition to these measures, it's a good general rule of thumb to hold off signing a contract until it includes everything you want -- and that you understand all the terms and conditions. You'll also want to keep assiduous records of all payments and invoices in case a dispute needs to be settled.
On a similar note, make sure the contractor guarantees he or she will complete all the necessary homework and obtain all the required approvals during the process. Without this precaution, some contractors might sweep under the rug any number of matters ranging from building permits to Homeowner's Association bylaws, and you could find yourself uncovering a huge legal mess the minute the door closes behind them.
Once you've found a contractor who can address all the issues we've discussed so far, it's time to talk price.