Angie's List: Finding a contractor

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If your list of New Year's projects includes some home renovation projects, there is something you can do now make the process less stressful.

When Catherine Duff made the decision to remodel her bathroom, she instantly thought of her father.

"And he kind of drilled it into us that it's really important to shop around and make a decision based on the pros and cons and not a gut feeling and to kind of do your due diligence," Duff said.

The due diligence lead to her getting three bids from potential contractors. According to consumer experts, that's exactly what every homeowner should do.

"For the last 17 years, I've talked a ton to consumers about the importance about getting three estimates when thinking about a remodel job," said Angie Hicks, Angie's List.

One of the main reasons for getting three estimates is because the contractors will be around a lot. You need a chance to talk and compare what its going to be like to work with each team.

When you get a bid, make sure it includes the payment terms, start and completion dates, materials used, cost of permits and cost of final payment. Of course, that too should be written out.

Since many homeowners end their project before it even gets started, contractors are sometimes willing to drop their prices. A recent Angie's List poll, showed that more than 80 percent of contractors are willing to negotiate with homeowners to get jobs. Getting three bids, experts say, can be leverage for getting that lower price and never forget about your gut feelings.

"I've always thought you kind of get what you pay for," Duff said.