And here's my two cents on the inspection/contractor topic: Do your homework first - look up the type of damage you see around your home and then go on the web and search like crazy, search at the library, Barnes & Nobles. Know what you're dealing with and how it's repaired. And by all means get a reputable inspector that is certified by state and the professional home inspection group (don't remember the acronym!) - there is a difference between a home inspector that does a visual inspection and someone who goes beyond visual - and it should be spelled out in your contract. Most pre-buying inspections are visual and not the itemized, detailed lists with repair estimates. You know the saying, let the buyer beware....and you get what you pay for...(okay, you don't always get that, but you always should beware). As for contractors - there's no rules, I've used ones my friends used and gotten lousy service, I've interviewed and checked references and gotten lousy service, I've gone by the phone book, bids, newspapers, etc. and haven't found a sure fire way to get a happy ending. Sorry.