Don't pay too much up front. Robyn says paying a deposit and then paying your contractor as the project progresses is okay, but don't pay the project off before the work is done. "You need to make sure you are holding enough money at the end so that he is motivated to come back and finish things up," Robyn says. "That is including the punch list, the little things [like] the knobs and the light fixtures and some of the big things, too."
One writer discusses the truth about home ownership.
Put everything in writing.