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BBB suggests that you solicit two or three bids for the work you are planning. Do not automatically accept the lowest offer. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications and materials to be used.

Do not pay for the entire job in advance or pay cash.

Ask for local references and inspect the finished projects. Verify that the contractor is properly registered and/or licensed. In Massachusetts, this information can be obtained from the Mass. Board of Building Regulations & Standards at 617-727-3200. Check out the contractor's BBB Reliability Report and check with the Attorney General's Office for any complaint history.

In Massachusetts, all home improvement contracts over $1,000 in value must be written, but it's always a good idea to use a written contract. Make sure you understand all financing and contractual terms; never sign a contract with sections left blank. The written contract must include the work being done, a name and street address for the contractor, scheduled start and completion dates, the total amount to be paid and any schedule for payments, and a copy of the contractor's insurance.

Do not make final payment until the work is completed.

For more info on MA Home Improvement contract laws and regulations, check out

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