There is no magic trick to select a good contractor; however, there is an effective 5-step tracking system to avoid the bad ones, the ones who can really mess up your life by ruining your remodeling project. The system consists of asking yourself 5 questions as you contact several contractors and talk to them about your remodeling needs. Here are these 5 questions. Write them down or memorize them to have them handy upon meeting a potential contractor: 1. Was he late for our first meeting? First impressions matter… a lot! When you are hiring a service, any service, the interested party should always be on time. If a contractor doesn’t arrive on time for the first meeting with you, you can bet he won’t be dependable if hired 2. Did he just say we don’t need a contract? Red alert! Run! Don’t even bother talking any further to a contractor that tells you he doesn’t need a contract to guarantee his work. Every good contractor will gladly put every detail in writing as much for his sake as for yours. 3. Is he hard to reach? A remodeling project is a complicated activity, no matter the size, and the only way to ensure success is to be able to maintain constant communication with all the parties involved, interior designer, contractors, etc. If you start talking to a contractor and he doesn’t return your calls promptly or answer your emails within 24 hours, you are better off looking for help somewhere else. 4. How did he react when I asked for references? A good contractor will feel pride in showing his work, thus, he will be more than glad to give you the names of clients he has done work for. If you ask a contractor for references and he gets evasive, maybe you should think twice about hiring him. 5. Is he asking me to pay in advance? Good contractors work with payment schedules, based on completed jobs. They will set everything in writing; establishing dates and amounts to be paid. Never ever, pay a contractor in advance; you never know what you will get for the money. This system works because it is simple; if one or more of the above apply, you are not looking in the right place. Start your search from scratch and wait until you are certain you have found a good contractor, otherwise, you are in for disappointment, high and unnecessary costs, and worst of all, poor results that will mean your home will lose value.