You've recently had a home inspection, and the report revealed some issues you want to fix before you list your house.
While some of the damages can be taken care of in your spare time, there are other repairs that require professional help. In this case, you'd begin seeking out contractors to complete the work.
When vetting your options, there are many questions you can ask to determine which expert is right for the job. This includes inquiries about a contractor's experience, recent work and prices. These are essential details, and you'll also have to look out for certain red flags.
Sadly, some individuals who appear to be qualified contractors are actually scam artists. The good news is you can check for some details that will alert you of a dishonest professional.
Payment is requested up front
When you go to a restaurant, you wouldn't pay for your food before you receive it. So why should you pony up for repairs that haven't been completed yet?
Of course, a deposit may be required, and some contractors like to schedule payments in increments as the work is finished. However, you should never hire anyone who requests the full amount up front, as he or she could walk away with the money without completing any work on your house.
Cash is the only acceptable payment
Even with reputable contractors, issues can arise, and sometimes these challenges involve legal disputes. In these cases, you want a paper trail to document key points in the timeline of your dealings with the repair professionals - particularly in regard to payment.
Cash doesn't leave a trace. Credit card and check transactions, on the other hand, are noted on your monthly statements.
Scam artists follow disasters
After a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane causes a lot of damage, homeowners are looking to rebuild. Many good Samaritans offer to help in this endeavor for free, but there is still a need for contractors to handle some of the work.
Many con artists flock to these blighted areas. If you're recovering from a disaster, make sure you're conducting thorough research when considering contractors who offer their services.
Contractors contact you
Outside of the aforementioned instance where an outpouring of humanity may cause reputable home improvement professionals to offer services, contractors typically don't come to you to solicit your business. If you're approached at your home, there's a good chance you're talking to a scammer.
Worthy contractors don't need to go door to door to get business. They thrive on their references, word of mouth and more contemporary marketing techniques.
They don't have any references
Reviews from other customers are one of your best friends when selecting a contractor - your actual best friends and family can give suggestions too. Given that scam artists spend their time ripping off homeowners, they won't have any references. Contractors who do good work have a list of individuals who are willing to vouch for them.
They are impatient
Contractors shouldn't be pushy. You need time to consider your options, and home repair specialists understand you won't likely be ready to make a snap decision.
Disreputable contractors may try to pressure you into accepting their bids immediately - sometimes they'll frame the tactic as a time-sensitive price. There is a chance the overall cost can go up after some time because materials become more expensive. However, it is highly unlikely the price of the shingles needed for your new roof will skyrocket within a few days. Don't fall for this or any of the other aforementioned traps.