3. Find Out Who's a Team Player

If you can't get referrals directly from the contractor or architect, then at least check references carefully, asking how well each pro got on with the other team members. Did the architect listen to the contractor? When things went wrong, did he come up with solutions? Did the builder consult with the architect or just forge ahead when problems came up? Did he give the architect useful input?

Good communication on a project ultimately benefits the homeowner. When Tom first worked with Stephen Holt in Manchester, for instance, Holt had specified a traditional cedar roof for the Shingle-style house. Tom wanted to try a new pressure-treated pine that was half the price, said to weather like cedar, and warrantied to last longer. "Steve was concerned about the color," recalls Tom. "I said give it a year, and you won't know the difference. Give it 25 years, and you'll still have a roof." Because Holt trusted Tom, he agreed to the change; today the roof looks better than new, having weathered to a silvery gray.

Ask TOH users about Befores and Afters

Contribute to This Story Below