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How To Avoid Home Improvement Scams

In Denver Real Estate | on September, 14, 2012 | by | 0 Comments
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home improvement scamsAccording to some estimates, up to 100,000 people are victimized each Spring and Summer by fraudulent contractors known as “travelers” or “storm chasers” – hucksters who travel to mostly storm ravaged areas in the Midwest or South offering their services on the cheap. They most often prey on the elderly or families whose homes have been severely damaged with promises of “great deals” on house painting, window replacement, or other projects. A Real Estate Agent in Denver can help you avoid being the next victim.

Here are several tips that can help you avoid becoming the latest victim.

  • Use your “Spider Sense” – or, if that fails, just be cautious. If someone shows up at your door offering to do work on the spot, offer to take their business card and call if a need arises. According to any Realtor in Denver, signs of trouble include a vehicle with out of state license plates, or service trucks without a company name or number.
  • Do some research on your own, as a Denver Real Estate Agent may do on your behalf. Before agreeing to work with a contractor, and certainly before turning over cash payment, research the company through your local Better Business Bureau office or chamber of commerce.
  • Any professional with a real estate license denver will tell you to ask around for the names of trusted contractors you could call. Try friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers for references.
  • Understand the power of choice. In most cases, there isn’t a single improvement for Homes for sale in Denver that you should have performed without first getting estimates from three reputable contractors. Look at all three, then make your choice.
  • Verify the contractor’s background with century 21 denver or any other knowledgeable source. If you’ve narrowed your choice, ask to see the contractor’s license and proof he’s bonded, which protects you against theft and damage. Make sure the contractor carries liability insurance, and provides worker’s compensation insurance in case a worker is injured on the job.
  • Colorado Real Estate is expensive, so we encourage you to ask for references. Any reputable contractor should be able to provide you with the names of three to five satisfied customers you can call or visit. If you’re getting a new roof, drive by a house where the contractor performed the same job and see how it looks. Ask the homeowner what the experience was like working with the company in question.
  • A business card says a thousand words. Or it doesn’t. Look the contractor’s business card over in detail. If it has an out of state number, call it. If it has a license number, verify it. It if has a P.O. box listed instead of a physical address, ask why. These are all tips a Real Estate Agent in Denver, CO would be happy to go over with you.
  • Get a contract. No home improvement project should ever be agreed upon without a signed contract. Review it thoroughly, making sure it includes a description of the work to be done, scheduled begin and end date, working hours, a list of materials, and all fees and rates associated with the work. As always, read the fine print.

Finally, be cautious when it comes to payments. In most cases, a reputable contractor will never require more than a 10 percent down payment to start work. But in all cases, pay by check or credit card. Also make sure the work is subject to final inspection before the last payment is handed over.

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