Home improvement scams are a real threat to all those owning a home and wishing to undertake a refurbishment project. We have discussed the main types of home improvement scams in our previous post on the subject.
Below are our tips to follow in order to avoid falling prey to a home improvement scam:
- First of all, think about it: legitimate companies do not need to knock on your door. Why would somebody reasonable just expect you to agree to buy their services without your having performed any due diligence on them?
- Don’t buy under pressure, don’t accept any offer straight away. Do your homework and run some checks first (it can be as simple as a Google search).
- Work with trusted local businesses – make sure the contractor has appropriate identification that their company is legitimate.
- Make sure it’s legal by confirming that any business being considered for hire is licensed and registered to do work in your area. Also, if in doubt, ask for proof of a current insurance certificate from the contractor’s insurer.
- Check references by asking several previous customers. Get older references (at least a year old) so you can check on the quality of the work, as well as more recent references to make sure current employees of the contractor are reliable.
- Get it in writing: always be sure to get a written contract with the price, timeline and materials . The more detail, the better.
- Key red flags to watch out for will be cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, and on-site inspections.