Home owners know that there are always home improvement projects waiting to be done and never enough time to complete them. Whether you are a first-time home buyer looking to renovate a fixer-upper or an established home owner with a list of pending repairs, scams might not be the first thing on your mind. It is easy to stay one step ahead of any home improvement scam if you know what to look for.
Watch out for the following indicators of a possible scam:
- Out-of-state contractors. Don’t hire anyone to do home improvements if they are not registered in your state.
- Requests for large sums of money up front. Many scam artists ask for payment before providing any services. Reputable contractors will only ask for minimal down payments before work is begun.
- Unsolicited contractors. If someone knocks on your door uninvited and offers to make repairs for a great price, don’t hire them. Scam artists may stake out a neighborhood, approach homeowners about problems that “need fixing” and ask for payment up front. Even if they do make repairs, they may be poor quality.
- Driveway scams. Common during the warmer months, a scam artist stops at your house and attempts to convince you that your driveway needs repairs. If you agree, they may charge you for asphalt or tar resurfacing but apply a cheap imitation substance that does not provide protection, and take your money.
It can be tempting to go to the first contractor who offers a great deal, but always do background research before you sign anything.
- Check your state’s Attorney General’s website to see if the person you are hiring is fully licensed
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints filed against the contractor
Before starting the improvements, get everything in writing. Be specific in regards to expected work, price, and the timeline. Don’t leave any room for interpretation.
Whether you are making home repairs or inquiring about a mortgage, it pays to work with certified professionals. Visit www.FreedomMortgage.com to learn more about your loan options.