3 Tips for Spotting Home Contractor Scams

Spring is in the air, and home improvements are on many homeowners minds. As a result, home improvement scams are also springing up like weeds after a spring rain. While you’ve probably heard your share of home contractor horror stories, do you actually know what red flags to look for when you are contracting out for work on your home? Here are three important questions to ask about your contractor before you hire them or hand over any money:

Can you truly verify their identity?
Finding a contractor’s website online is not enough anymore, and many frauds will actually set up fake websites, business offices, and phone numbers to make their business look more legitimate. Then, when you hand over your first deposit, the contractor disappears, never to be seen again. Get a valid license number from your contractor so that you can verify their existence with your state’s Department of Professional Regulation or other relevant licensing boards.

  • How much do they want up front? While it is not unusual to ask for a deposit on a job, make sure that your contractor is not asking for more than is legally allowed (in states like California, contractors cannot ask for more than 10 percent upfront) and that the number is reasonable, generally not more than 30 percent. You may also want to pay with a credit card so that you can recover your payment if the contractor disappears without completing the work.
  • What exactly are they going to do? If a contractor submits a bid on work on your home but is not clear with you about how the work will be done or how much it will cost, you could be heading for trouble. Get a clear picture of how much the project will cost, the timeline, how the work will be done, and when you and the contractor will both know that the project is complete before you get started in order to avoid confusion and excessive additional expenses down the road. Also, make it very clear in your agreement with the contractor that you will not pay for unapproved, additional work on your home, as some unscrupulous contractors will provide additional, unapproved services and then charge you for them.

And one other note: Before approving and accepting a contractor’s bid, its a good idea to have an Attorney review the contract (that I recommend you have in place signed by all parties involved). Attorney’s are expensive, I know. But through a service that we have, (LegalShield) you can afford to have a top rated  Attorney and Legal Department at your beck and call for all your legal situations. Bottom line is to keep you out of hot water and keep the minor issues minor before they become major.

*GOD Speed*

TLD Investments LLC



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