It takes a little work to hire a good contractor

There's only one way to guarantee that you won't have a problem with a contractor: Never hire anyone to do any home repairs or improvements.

That's not very practical.

Cheryl Reed with Angie's List says there are ways to reduce your chances of running into trouble.

"Hire a company with a great and local reputation," Reed said. "Hire a company with a valid license, that's very important."

And get a written contract that spells out in great detail what the contractor will do and what you will do. It should include payment terms, time frames and how to handle change-orders.

"If you can adhere to that contract and document every change that happens, you have a very good record should you have to prove what happened along the way," Reed told me.

Taking pictures as the project progresses is also a smart thing to do.

If there are subcontractors or if materials need to be purchased, you'll want a lien release as part of that contract.

"So, if your contractor has issues with subcontractors or suppliers and doesn't pay them, they can't put a lien on your home, which would make you responsible for those bills."

More Info:

Angie's Tips on How to Find a Contractor

6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor