When you think of “networking” or referrals it usually has to do with your career, however as a homeowner your list of contacts becomes very important.  Long gone are the days of calling your landlord to fix that leaky faucet, clean your eaves trough, or rewire that hallway light that only works on Tuesdays when it’s sunny outside.  Suddenly you’re in uncharted territory in terms of your own personal Rolodex needs.  It can be intimidating to know where to get started when looking for a good recommendation on a roofer, painter, or chimney cleaner.  Here are 5 great resources for building your arsenal of home repair, renovation, and maintenance experts to help keep your home shipshape, and on budget.

1. Ask your real estate agent
Odds are your agent has worked with a variety of clients who are pleased with the results of a home service and they’d be happy to recommend someone.  They may also have a number of contractors they employ regularly when they are looking to help a client upgrade a home for sale.

2. Ask your neighbour
A wonderful way to get to meet your new neighbours and introduce yourself, is complimenting them on their new porch, front door, or roof!  If anyone in your area has recently had work done on their home that you like, ask them how happy they are with it, the pricing, and the time it took to finish.  If it’s been a year or two since their latest repair or upgrade you can chat with them about their level of satisfaction in terms of how their purchase has held up over time.

3. Consider Searching a Review Service like HomeStars
HomeStars is like Yelp or TripAdvisor, but for contractors.  You can search by location and specialty.  Over 8,000 reviews are added each month, so you can get an accurate idea of how real clients are rating services.  Even better is the access to over 1.8 million contractors to fit your needs.

4. Call a friend
Friends, particularly those who have been in their home for a while, may have a number of contacts you can rely on to fix your dryer, shovel your snow, or help maintain your furnace.  Remember to be cautious of those who try to push relatives or close friends on you, especially if they have never employed the person’s services themselves.

5. Ask another professional to expand your network
Maybe you have an electrician you love.  They may have a colleague they work with often that they can recommend.  You’ll never know unless you ask!