Remodeling your home can be a great investment. It can add value to your home, and also make it more appealing should you decided to sell. However, the costs involved can be great and you must be careful that they don’t balloon into something that you weren’t prepared to pay.

Plus, you must also make sure the contractor you hire is competent, trustworthy and conscientious.

Here are three things you should know about your contractor before hiring them to work on your project.

Know Their Credentials

Many states require contractors to have a contractor’s license. Having a contractor’s license number gives you the ability to verify whether or not they’ve had any judgments levied against them, or if they’ve owned another business under a different name. Never be afraid to ask for the contractor’s license number. They should be proud to give it to you. You should also always ask for a copy of the contractor’s insurance policy, and make sure it has enough in it to cover your property should there be an accident or injury.

If you can, check with the Better Business Bureau and the Department of Public Safety to ensure that you’re hiring a reputable contractor. You may also check to see if they are a NARI contractor. NARI contractors are thoroughly investigated before being allowed to join. Members must abide by a strict code of ethics and pledge to professionalism.

Know Details and Cost of Project

Be sure to get everything in writing. Get detailed descriptions of the cost of the materials, what type of materials and brands, the cost of labor, hours of work, as well as detailed descriptions of the scope of work. Go as far as telling the contractor what you expect to be listed in the estimate, that way, when you finally get a chance to sit down and compare all the estimates you’ve been given by the contractors, you are able to compare apples to apples.

Be wary of any quote that is substantially lower than the rest, as it may not include all labor and materials, or may include costs for inferior materials. For example, if you know you want to use premium paint, make sure that it is listed in the estimate. The contractor could also have estimated poorly and may come back and ask for more money to finish the work.

Know the Type of Work They’ve Done in the Past

For contractors, it’s hard to be good at everything. Most of the time, contractors have a team of professionals ready for any job. However, make sure to ask them how many similar jobs they’ve completed in the past. For example, some may have plenty of experience remodeling kitchens, but if you will also need roof work, make sure they have good experience doing that as well. You want to ensure that you hire a contractor who is an expert in your type of project, not just one who dabbles in a little bit of everything. Hire multiple contractors if necessary.

It is very important to carefully screen potential contractors to ensure that you’re working with a reputable, licensed and insured professional. Although, it may take some time and effort, you should meet with several contractors before agreeing to any pricing or work. Take time to understand their credentials and the scope of the work they are promising to perform.