When it comes time to renovate or fix up your home, you want to make sure you're getting the best work done for the least amount of money possible. Saving money on one job means your renovation budget has room in it for one more job, or that your line of credit isn't under so much strain. Whatever your reason, you should always try to get the most reasonable price possible from contractors. To do this you need to put in the legwork at the beginning of the job and get multiple quotes. Here's how.

Compile a list of reputable contractors in your area. You can canvas family and friends for recommendations of people they have used before to fix things in their condo, you can look in the Yellow Pages, or you can check the list of approved contractors at the Better Business Bureau. Whichever method you choose, make sure the contractors on your list are bonded and insured, which will be for your benefit as well as theirs and will cover you if they leave you in the lurch.

Once you have your list, phone around and ask for someone to come out and give you an estimate. Most contractors will give you an estimate for free, as this takes only a few minutes of their time and homeowners are often unwilling to hand over important jobs to people they have not spoken to and who have no cap on their spending. Remember that an estimate is only an estimate - the real figure is likely to be at least 10% higher, so never agree to an estimate that is at the top end of your budget.

After you have collected your quotes (you need at least three to get an accurate picture of what the job will cost) you should sit down and compare them. All the quotes should be in the same ballpark. Any quote that is very different from the others should probably be discarded. For example, if four contractors gave estimates in the $2000-$2,500 range and one contractor quoted you $1000, you should probably assume that this contractor is deliberately low-balling the number to get the job or that he plans to use substandard materials, which will make it difficult to put up your home for sale later.

Though the price of the job will be your overriding concern, don't eliminate your impression of the contractor from the decision process. Does he seem trustworthy? Does he have a lot of projects in resale condominiums in Toronto that might take his time away from you? Would you let this person into your house while you're not home? These are important questions to ask yourself.

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