Monday, March 05, 2007

6 simple rules for selecting a contractor.

Home Improvement & Repairs

Home improvements and repairs can cost thousands of dollars and are subject to frequent complaints. These suggestions may help limit unnecessary expense.
Get recommendations and references. Talk to family, friends and others who have used the contractor for similar work.
Get at least three written estimates. Insist that the contractor visit your home to evaluate what needs to be done. Are all 3 estimates based on the same work? Make meaningful comparisons.
Check the contractor’s complaint record. Check with state and local consumer protection agencies.
Make sure your contractor meets licensing and registration requirements. Again, your local or state consumer protection agency can help identify requirements and tell you if your contractor is compliant.
Check with the building inspection department to determine permit and inspection requirements. If the contractor asks YOU to obtain any permits BEWARE. This may be a sign that your contractor is not properly licensed.Finally, DON’T MAKE A FINAL PAYMENT OR SIGN A FINAL RELEASE UNTIL YOUR ARE SATISFIED WITH THE WORK. Have all subcontractors and suppliers been paid? Some states including California, allow suppliers and sub-contractors to put a LIEN against your home if the contractor has failed to pay them.

Week in review

YOU KNOW WHO IS LOOKING FOR STOCKS? NOBODY! Last week's volatility in the stock market stabbed at the hearts of both the Stock and Bond markets, with home loan rates swinging higher and lower throughout the course of the week. Economic news releases took a backseat to the massive movements in Stocks. Amazingly, when all the smoke cleared, home loan rates were unchanged to slightly improved for the week overall.
What happened? First, remember that the Stock and Bond markets compete for the same investment dollar. This means that when Stocks are worsening and investors are selling off their holdings, some of that money gets moved over into the Bond market, which helps home loan rates improve. And vice versa, when Stocks move higher and investors are buying into the Stock market, some of that money comes back out of Bonds, which causes home loan rates to worsen.
Last week's volatility began with the Chinese Stock market plunging, setting off a string of worldwide stock selling. Our own Stock market was ripe for a reversal lower, and money flowed out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping home loan rates improve. The next day, Stocks began to rebound, moving money back out of Bonds and causing home loan rates to worsen. But the "see-saw" action continued for the balance of the week - and may not be done yet, causing high amounts of volatility in Stocks and Bonds - and therefore, home loan rates.

Compiled by TeamResults Affiliates as a service to our clients. Always seek advice from your own experts. E-mail with questions, comments or concerns.