How to Avoid Being Scammed by a Home Remodeling Contractor

Home remodeling scams continue to be a major problem for homeowners, with thousands of unsuspecting and innocent people being taken advantage of by less-than honest contractors every year.

This complete remodeling guide provide tips on how to avoid being scammed by a home remodeling contractor.

Tip #1: Learn about the Contractor

Most remodeling contractors are fair and honest. Trustworthy contractors care about their reputation. They are happy to provide references, show you their builder’s license, and answer any questions you have. Also ask to see an up to date copy of their insurance coverage to protect you in the event of an accident. Those who might try to rip you off may not have references they can offer. If they don’t have a builder’s license or insurance, that’s a definite warning sign. Don’t consider building contractors without them.

You can learn about a contractor by calling the building code department where you live to find out if their license is current. Ask the building inspector what he or she knows about the contractor. They can’t offer formal recommendations, but they may provide helpful information.

Tip #2: Read Online Reviews of Contractors

Angie’s List, Yahoo, Google and many other sites offer reviews of contractors. Reading what others have to say will help you decide if the remodeling contractors you are considering are fair and reputable.

Tip #3: Never Sign a Contract on the First Meeting

Take your time to research potential remodeling contractors. When you first meet with them, learn about their experience. Get remodeling ideas from them. Ask about remodeling costs – though they won’t provide specifics until you request a written estimate.

As part of this, never provide a down payment on any work until you’ve thoroughly checked out the contractor, received written estimates from several remodeling contractors, and have met with the one you prefer at least a couple of times.

Tip #4: Consider Using a Screening Service

Because of the danger of being scammed by a contractor, many homeowners are turning to screening services. These services pre-screen remodeling contractors very thoroughly. They determine for you that the contractors are properly licensed, bonded and insured, and that they have the skill and experience to do a good job on your home.

When hiring the contractor for your home remodeling job is your most important task, take your time to investigate and learn all you can, or use a screening service to help, so that you can put confidence in the contractor who does the work on your home. (check references, read reviews, never sign on first meeting, license and insured, screening service)

For guides on outdoor remodeling, kitchen remodeling, basement remodeling, and bathroom remodeling projects, visit our helpful learning articles for tips and tricks!

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