Whether you’re in need of a plumber, painter or landscaper, finding a competent and trustworthy contractor to carry out your remodel is no easy task. After you find one, you’ll have to worry about keeping your possessions and family safe while they work in your home.

If you’re in the market to hire a home service professional, read these safety tips before you sign on the dotted line.

1. Hire a genuine professional.

Finding a respected professional is the first step to protecting your home during a remodel. Sites like Porch.com make the task less daunting. Use Porch to read reviews about the professionals who have worked in your neighborhood and view pictures of their previous projects. You’ll also have the reassurance that you’re hiring someone who’s licensed and has insurance coverage. That’s peace of mind you won’t get when you hire your neighbor’s best friend.

2. Sign a contract.

A contract detailing the scope of work needed, cost, and expected timeframe is the best way to be sure you and the remodeler both know what’s expected. Any changes to the original scope of work should be communicated, agreed upon and documented. Your contract should reflect your vision and plans for the remodel.

3. Take photos.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take pictures and video of your home before the remodeler gets started and periodically throughout the project. You’ll not only build the ultimate before and after photos you want, you’ll also have solid documentation should the remodeler skip out before fulfilling the contract.

4. Upgrade your home security system.

From motion detectors that alert you when a worker enters an area of your home they shouldn’t, to security cameras that let you know exactly who is coming and going, a monitored home security system helps keep an eye on your home when you can’t.

Many of today’s leading home security providers also offer mobile applications that send you alerts when specific events happen—such as when the front door opens. Best yet, these apps allow you to watch real time video of your home, right from your smartphone or other Web enabled device.

5. Monitor access to your home.

If you’ve done your research and hired a professional home remodeler, they’ll probably be trustworthy. But there’s no need to take a chance. Make it clear to the remodeler (and his workers) that you are monitoring your home and you’ll likely minimize the chance of theft.

Some home security system providers offer you the ability to remotely lock and unlock your home’s doors and remotely arm and disarm your system, so you don’t have to hand out a key or give a worker your passcode.

When it’s time to hire a home services professional, check their references and make sure the scope of work is detailed in a contract. Then consider using the power of a monitored home security system to help keep your family and home safe while he or she completes the project. If you’re ready to invest in a monitored home security system or upgrade your current one, this comparison guide is the ideal place to start.

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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