For large home modifications, it may be necessary to hire a contractor. According to the Northwest Regional Council, when looking for a contractor:
- Make a list of the modifications you want before talking to a contractor.
- Get recommendations from friends and family about their experiences with contractors.
- Check out the reports filed with the Better Business Bureau to see if a contractor has had any complaints.
- Compare contractors and find out if they each do the type of work you want. Ask if they are licensed, bonded and covered by workman’s compensation and liability insurance.
- Obtain three estimates and have face-to-face meetings with those contractors.
- Take your time reading over and considering the bids before making a decision.
- Understand how you’re going to finance the project.
- Put contracts in writing.
- Don’t sign the completion certificate without inspecting the work.
If you’re planning to build your own home, the NWRC also recommends hiring an architect who is familiar with the concept of universal design. This approach creates homes that are usable and marketable to people of all ages, no matter their abilities. Its features can include wider doorways, multi-level counters in the kitchen and no-step entrances.