[Scam Alert] How To Choose The RIGHT Home Repair Contractor

By Natalie Taylor-Hayes | Monday Monday Staff -    2018-03-19

You just spoke with the fourth home repair solicitor this week. It seems everyone has the answer for your roof, gutters, and siding. Who do you trust? Can you recognize the “real deal” from the scam?

recognizing and avoiding home repair scams

Around the end of March, the door-to-door handyman shows up at my front door– too many times. As a vigilant homeowner, I know exactly which repairs my home is in need of and in what order I’ll attend to them.

However, some pushy solicitors get downright insulting. The list they’re prepared, without my permission, is twice as long and their presentation is sometimes condescending. Why yes, I know my gutters are in need of a good cleaning. Therefore, when I decide it’s time to check off home repair and maintenance I want to be sure I’m making the right decisions.

Tips for choosing the right person, price, and guarantee:

Reputation:

  • Ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences with home-repair contractors and get their recommendation.
  • If one shows up at your door, ask to see his badge and get his card. Don’t make any promises. Then search for him or her online. Is the company legitimate and have adequate reviews?
  • Call the Better Business Bureau in your state and ask for a recommendation.
  • Visit your local home improvement store. Talk to one of their department managers. You’d be surprised how willing some are to give the name and number of someone they trust.

The right price:

  • Choose two or three contractors to give free estimates on your repairs. Have one of your children or older grandchild present when the contractor arrives. If they want a commitment that day– it may be a scam– turn them down. High-pressure sales tactics are sometimes aimed at us seniors. Our houses didn’t fall down that day, due to a few missing shingles, and they’re not going to tomorrow. 
  • When you’ve gathered your estimates, present them to a trusted friend or family member and discuss the services and costs.
  • Determine if it’s best to have the work done all at once or one project at a time. 
  • Never pay up-front for materials. A reputable contractor will receive his or her pay after the work is completed as agreed. A scammer will need some cash up front and will leave out of luck when they never show up.

A Guarantee You and Your House Can Live With

recognizing and avoiding home repair scams

How long do you intend to keep your house and are you repairing it for immediate sale? A nice guarantee on recent repairs can be a selling point for your property. And if you plan to stay for a while, you don’t want to repeat the same repairs anytime soon. 

A good manufacturer will stand behind its products and a good repairman will stand behind his work. You want both. A scammer may use poor quality or off-brand materials and send under-qualified workmen to do the job. 

One last thing, don’t be afraid to give your contractor a call if any part of his job didn’t stand the test. You hired him or her based on reputation, price, and guarantee.

What home repair tips can you pass along to our readers? 

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