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Contractor

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What would it do: Under an executive order issued by Biden on Sept. 9, contractors and subcontractors for the federal government are required …

When you visit a home, what do you notice first? For some it's the decoration or color coordination. For others it's the landscaping. For me it's the defects. My eye is attracted to any and all errors and failures resulting from how the home was built or remodeled. It's almost like a disease for me: Instead of enjoying looking at a home, I feel like I’m inspecting it.

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In the autumn of 1993 when I started Ask the Builder, I knew I’d become a clearinghouse of homeowner complaints, misery and frustration. Homeowners from all across the fruited plains of the USA might understand I was an independent voice and someone who didn’t have a dog in their particular fight. That prediction came true, and lately I’m seeing a deeply disturbing trend.

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A smart garage door opener might not sound like a big deal, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of your garage door automatically opening up to greet you when you get home. Sure, the added security is nice: You can set your garage to automatically close if you accidentally leave it open, or even open it from your smartphone if you need to let someone in while you’re away.

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Whether it’s local covenants or municipal laws that call for permits for a garage door, make sure your contractor works under those regulations to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

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"The biggest barrier right now to adoption of heat pumps is contractor readiness," McKenna says. "I hear time and time again from people who have talked to five contractors and only one is willing to install a heat pump. The lack of competition drives up costs."

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Convert the extra space into the walk-in closet of your dreams. Depending on the complexity of the closet you'd like to create, you can complete the task with a few supplies from the local home improvement store in a weekend. You can also hire a contractor to create a completely custom design with all the bells and whistles.

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