to seal the deal, one — third at the halfway point, and one — third on completion. “Be wary of any contractor who asks for the full amount up front, or even half up front,” says Hood. “Never pay for the entire project up front. That is a recipe for disaster.” Before making the final payment, confirm that the work is satisfactory based on the completion of municipal inspections. For more information, log on to www.hometips.com and www.thisoldhouse.com.