You need to look long and hard when you are going to do work to your home. If you hire the wrong contractor and they mess up something, you better hope that they have insurance or else you are going to be in a world of trouble. We have seen a lot of stories recently about people who were trying to buy and/or sell real estate and ran into problems with a builder or the other party. Often, the results are not good.
When you are looking for new real estate or to do home improvement, the best place you can begin your research is on Angieslist.com. They have the best unbiased reviews that we have seen online, and all of the contractors have ratings and feedback so you can see what others are saying about them. You can find all kinds of service providers, everything from real estate agents to roofing companies, to tornado shelter companies and pest control. They literally have reviews for everything on this site.
Because they charge the consumers to use the site (they also sell advertising to the companies), the reviews are much harder to fake so you should be reading reviews that are real and not gamed by the companies themselves. We think that you should check out Angieslist, as it is a great site for this kind of research.