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Ways to avoid home improvement scams

Be cautious of home improvement scams. Read to find out more information.

Each year, there are many door-to-door sales people looking to cash in on unsuspecting homeowners to lure into home improvement scams. In fact, the USA Today recently estimated that the number of these scammers varies from 20,000 to 100,000 annually. To avoid falling prey when looking for home improvement services, follow these simple, yet often overlooked tips:

  1. Be cautious and don’t do business with people coming to your door looking to sell windows, roofing, siding or any similar product.
  2. If an unknown individual approaches your door, check their vehicle to see if it has a company name on it.
  3. Do your homework and ask around for valuable references of quality contractors. This is by far the best way to avoid scams since your friends of family may have just used the same contractors recently to perform home improvement services. In addition, the BBB (Better Business Bureau) is another great place to spend a minute or two looking into companies you are considering.
  4. Gather multiple bids to make sure contractors are in the same ballpark with their offers. Also, make sure you are clear with the company bidding your project, as well as the perimeters and guidelines you are considering for your project.
  5. When you’re ready to hire a contractor, ask for proof that the company is properly licensed and bonded (to protect you against theft, damage or an entire home improvement scam), that it carries liability insurance and that it provides workers’ compensation insurance.
  6. Request a contract for the scope of work you will have done, as well as the financial obligation of the total project. If prepayment is needed, make sure you do not need to pay more than 25-33 percent of the project total. Once final payment is required, make sure to get a lien wavier that the contractor was pain in full.

Home improvement services or projects can be stressful situations, so make sure you follow the tips above to minimize stress and the risk of experiencing a home improvement scam.