Real estate is an investment like any other yet it does require occasional maintenance. You don’t buy a treasury bond and visit it regularly to see if it’s in any need of repair, right? But your investment is a physical asset and you need to keep your asset finding contractorsin good physical shape to accelerate appreciation and avoid major, unexpected repairs.

Do you make the repairs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding a good contractor or tradesman? You can probably do much of the minor work yourself such as replacing a washer in a faucet, install a new toilet or sink disposal. It doesn’t take much and you can save on labor expenses big-time if you are indeed a true “do it yourselfer.”

But what if you’re not as handy around the house as you think? Or maybe you are but you simply don’t have the inclination of making maintenance calls. Where do you find quality help? First, ask around your circle of influence. Ask who they have used in the past when home maintenance is needed. In fact, if you haven’t found a quality contractor at this stage, it’s something you should remedy in the meantime.

One sure way to find a host of contractor referrals is to visit your local “big box” materials store. Many of these outlets have bulletin boards where tradesmen post their business card, use these names for starters. But don’t just pick out a card. Make a visit to the department manager and tell them you’ve a real estate investor who regularly needs quality electrical, carpentry and plumbing work. Licensed contractors who visit hardware stores every day have steady work. They have steady work because their customers constantly refer their services.

The department manager will know the names and faces of reliable contractors who make the trek to the store on a regular basis. Get referrals from the place where the professionals shop. They’re there every day—you just have to ask.