We get a lot of questions from trades professionals about HomeStars and how useful it really is. In this two-part series, we’re digging into HomeStars to find out how reliable it is and whether a HomeStars membership is worth it. In this part of the series, we’re exploring the potential of HomeStars for homeowners in Toronto.

But first, what is HomeStars?

Established in 2006, HomeStars is a Canadian website that connects homeowners with local home improvement contractors such as plumbers, electricians, landscapers, renovation companies, retailers and more. In a nutshell, HomeStars is a service that relies on homeowners’ reviews of trades they once hired to work on their house.

And the thing about HomeStars is that it asserts all published reviews are authentic. So although you can’t trust every single review you read on HomeStars, the site does try its best to eliminate fake ones.

HomeStars review policy

So, how is HomeStars beneficial for the homeowner?

For homeowners, HomeStars is helpful if you’re searching for the perfect renovator for your next home upgrade. Using HomeStars means you have access to “over 2 million home professionals,” all sorted based on a percentile ranking.

To make it easier to understand, HomeStars is pretty much an automated construction manager. And the companies registered with the service are HomeStars subcontractors.

It’s basically Tinder for construction.

Here’s a good example. Say, you’re browsing for a home additions contractor. You enter your search into HomeStars to find a reliable professional that can work on your second-level addition. You then have to answer a series of questions pertinent to your addition before you’re matched with a contractor.

We signed up on HomeStars to test out the service for ourselves. Here’s what we found.

First, we were asked to enter our postal code to filter the search by location. Makes sense. Then, we had to select the type of service we’re looking for.

Next, we filled out some more information about our imaginary home addition project.

  • What type of home addition did we want?
  • Which and how many rooms will be affected by the addition?
  • What is our preferred timeframe for the home addition project?

Photo of Timing request

Photo of addition options

The point of these questions is to match us, the supposed homeowner, with the contractor most qualified to take on our home addition.

After we filled out the questionnaire, we received an auto-generated email confirming our request has been sent out to contractors specialized in home additions. We also got a phone call from a HomeStars representative to further discuss our project. So far, so good!

Still, is HomeStars reliable?

Well, the next step is the crux of HomeStars as a service. And it’s where we finally got the answer we’ve been wanting.

Within minutes, we received three offers from three different contractors, all interested in our request. Each offer came with the contractors’ HomeStars profile, so we had a clear idea of their responsiveness, reviews, reputation, and overall rating.

From there on out, it was a bidding war. The ball was entirely in our court and we had the liberty to discuss our project with the three contractors, request a quote, and decide who to hire accordingly. And here’s the kicker: all we had to do to access this service was sign up. And it’s totally free!

All in all, from a property owner’s standpoint (and based on our experiment), we think HomeStars is a viable tool. It spares the homeowner the hassle of contacting multiple contractors, awaiting quotes, and narrowing down options. It also connects you to a community of millions of other homeowners across Canada where you can share your experience with different trades professionals.

But the question still stands: Is HomeStars reliable for trades contractors? Find out the answer to this in Part II.