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For costly home projects, consider licensing, lawyer

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In her home state of Florida, Kia Ricchi has witnessed the devastation wrought by hurricanes for many years. A licensed contractor for more than a decade, she also has witnessed what her fellow Floridians have gone through in trying to put their physical lives back together.

"They were making emotional decisions," she said of many home-remodeling experiences she’s seen. "Emotion was the overriding factor."

But it wasn’t just the post-disaster mindset that made an impression on her. It seemed to her that even people in ordinary circumstances often approach expensive building and remodeling decisions with their hearts, not their heads. Regret often ensues, she said.