No Comments

How to Not Get Scammed by a Home Contractor

The majority of contractors are good, honest people, but there are a few bad apples in every crowd. Here’s how to weed out a bad contractor from the good.

  • Be wary of door-to-door solicitations. Sometimes contractors will walk door-to-door and claim they see things wrong with your house that they can fix. This works all too often, and it sometimes includes the spiel in which they tell you they were working on a home in the neighborhood and have extra materials they can sell to you cheaply.
  • Be wary of limited-time deals. It’s okay for them to offer deals to you, but it’s not okay for them to pressure you into deciding on them right on the spot.
  • Research your contractor before hiring. Don’t just ask your neighbors, friends, and family for references, but use resources like Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List too.
  • Make sure they can provide references.
  • Check for proper licensing and insurance coverage.
  • Get at least three in-home estimates. And if a contractor refuses to see the project in person, that’s a red flag-it’s nearly impossible to get a good feel for the project‘s extensiveness over the phone. Also, be careful if the prices of the various estimates are all over the place, or if one of them is vastly under the rest.
  • Always have a contract before they start any work. Anything that’s agreed upon verbally should also be put in writing, even if it’s something that crops up in the middle of the job.
  • If the work requires a permit, be wary if they attempt to have you retrieve it from the county. Actual contractors do this themselves.
  • Be cautious of “unforeseen problems” that now happen raise the cost of a project. these could be legit, but sometimes they aren’t. Make sure the contract has a procedure for this. You can get a second opinion from an inspector, etc. as well.
  • Don’t pay in full up front. It’s normal for them to request for you to pay some of the total ahead of time, but usually not much of it. You’ll then most likely pay in phases as the work gets completed. If subcontractors are involved, make sure they’re getting paid by the contractor, or else they could come after you.  Have the contractor list each of the subcontractors, how much and when they’ll be paid, and proof of payment afterwards. Last, don’t pay for materials that haven’t arrived yet.
  • Be careful if they ask you to pay them for the materials instead of the company supplying them.
  • Be wary if they try to sell you something that you already have that’s in good condition.

Comments (0)