5 STEPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR Doing Your Homework Makes All the Difference
Finding the right contractor to remodel your home can take some time, but it’s time well spent if it means receiving exactly the work you want. Here are the five essential steps you should take to pick the right contractor. Step 1: Get Recommendations Create a list of local contractors who have the right expertise for your job. You can compile this list by asking others for recommendations, searching online, reading reviews, and using social media. Red flags: Any contractors who are hard to find information on or don’t have any online presence or reviews. Step 2: Review Portfolios Narrow your list by reviewing each contractor’s portfolio of recent projects. A good portfolio should contain at least 10 projects with before and after photos and notes about the process. Red flags: Portfolios with too few projects or photos or little experience with your type of project. Step 3: Verify Licensing and Certification Once you’ve narrowed down your list, ask to see licensing and certification. Legal requirements vary by state and county, so call the licensing division of your community for specific requirements. Contractors should also have liability insurance. Red flags: Anyone who doesn’t have the right credentials or is hesitant about giving you the information. Step 4: Gather References Now that you have just a few contractors to consider, ask them for references. This is a common practice, and any reputable contractor will happily provide
them. Ask the references the following questions: Did the contractor stay on schedule? Were problems promptly addressed? How was the quality of work? Was the cost reasonable? Red flags: Too few references or bad, ambivalent, or hesitant reviews. Step 5: Calculate Bids and Hiring After eliminating anyone who does subpar work, the final step is reviewing the proposals from those remaining. Consider
costs, timeline, and types of materials. Remember that it’s not necessarily best to go with the cheapest bid. Once you accept one, carefully review the final contract. Red flags: Contractors who try to pressure you or don’t give you enough time before you must sign. Finding the perfect contractor for your project means you have to be willing to do some homework, but the more you put into the process, the better the results you’ll get out of it.
GRILLED BASIL CHICKEN AND TOMATOES Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
TAKE A BREAK
You can’t go wrong with grilled chicken and tomatoes on a warm summer’s evening. It’s a simple recipe that packs a flavor punch.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
8 Roma tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
For marinade: In blender, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and basil. Cut 2 tomatoes into quarters and add to mixture. Cover and process until blended. Halve remaining tomatoes for grilling. In bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Reserve remaining marinade.
Heat grill to about 350–400 F. Lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until internal temperature reads 165 F, about 4–6 minutes per side. Grill tomatoes until lightly browned, about 2–4 minutes per side. Discard remaining marinade. Serve chicken and tomatoes with reserved marinade.
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