Home management can be an expensive business. Not only do you have a mortgage and property taxes to pay by rote, but you have to be prepared for things to go wrong. Insurance can cover some of the problems, but sometimes a claim would be more hassle than it’s worth.

Unless you're an expert at DIY, then some of these tasks are going to have to be outsourced. From the moment you consider moving in to the time you close the door for the last time, you'll rely on others for the smooth running of your home.

This can be difficult. The internet is full of scare stories about "cowboy builders" and customers being overcharged. You're, obviously, not wanting to fall into the same trap. Yet without the knowledge of how to complete the task yourself, you're at the mercy of the providers. Here's a few ideas to navigate these tricky waters.

Write Everything Down

Be it the movers that get you into the house or the electrician that lights it up, words are your friend. If you're bringing in someone to do more than a simple job, then you should agree exactly what it entails in writing. One of the reasons for this is that less principled providers may give a verbal quote that is miles away from the eventual price. If it's all written down and agreed, you're not going to wind up with a bigger bill than expected.

Check Their Credentials

Don't ever just take someone's word for their experience and what they can offer. Run internet searches; most reliable companies will have a web presence of some kind. Look at their Facebook and check court records for any outstanding judgement they may have. You may see tips saying you should speak to previous clients, but this is too easily faked by roping in a few friends. Rely on what you can find out through your own research.

Don't Leave Them Alone

This might sound like you don't trust them, but unless you know someone well, lack of trust is no bad thing. Time-wasting is a major issue for labour costs, so make it clear you're going to be hanging around. Find another task in the same room or just linger chatting. If that's too invasive for you, a webcam is a quick solution you can monitor from afar. If they seem to be dragging their feet, pop in and offer a cup of tea.

Never Just Accept The Work

When someone tells you the job is done, it's easy to just take their word for it. You want them out of your house and to get back to normal, so you nod and agree. One way to make sure you're happy is to go through and check it while they're still in the house. Ask them to explain exactly what was done, and to show you any removed parts if they claim to have done so. If they have a problem with this, then they're the ones at fault. You're just a conscientious homeowner, so don't be afraid to stand up for your rights.