How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

Do the echoing thumps of a hammer, or the high pitched-squeals of a table saw trigger any Deja-vu? That is right, the season of home improvement is officially here. Whether you are adding a deck, installing a new window or perhaps replacing a roof, the fact is you’re most likely going to hire a contractor to make this happen.

To avoid falling victim to home improvement fraud, you need to know how they operate and the techniques they use. Once equipped with this knowledge, it’s tough to become a victim of the scam.

It’s crucial to research and ask questions about their services before hiring a contractor. However, you can never be too careful, so brace yourself with these tips on how to identify a contractor that is trying to defraud you:

  1. Your contractor states that their service to you is going to be a demonstration. 
  2. They prefer you pay in full before work commences.
  3. They give a lifetime or unrealistic warranty.
  4. Their business number is unregistered on any directories.
  5. They pressure you into making hasty decisions.

Contractor scams are one of the most significant issues in the contract industry, and those who fall a victim, end up spending thousands of dollars to remedy the situation. According to many victims, scammers work by putting you off balance and luring you into a vulnerable position that allows them to drain you out financially before you even know what’s happening.

A common trick used by scam artists is to knock at your door and offer to do a free inspection. At the mention of free, you let your guide down and in turn, pay for things you know nothing about later.

Another example of contractor scams is the roofing scam. These scammers are popularly known as storm chasers. They travel the country, looking for desperate and vulnerable homeowners to scam under the guise of roofing. They do a poor job and most often, leave the town afterward, thereby ensuring the homeowner is stranded and swindled.

From the above tips, you can understand how they work and counter their manipulative techniques without any hurdle. In addition to being informed, whenever you’re in doubt, always remember not to be in haste to make decisions. Avoid the offer of free home inspections without proper verification and lastly, don’t permit work without a duly signed contract. Knowledge is power, and that is the best tool you have against contractor scammers.

3 Effective Ways to Keep Your House In Great Shape

When homes go ignored, issues start to develop and once easy to solve problems will become huge, expensive hassles. Every house will develop some item that you’ll need to attend to, and there are steps you can take today to minimize or even avoid these problems. Heed the following do-it-yourself tips, and you will keep your house looking great and save money in the long run.

  1. Periodically Inspect Your Roof – Take note of areas where roofing shingles are damaged, loose or missing as well as shingles that are flapping in the blowing wind. These indicators tell you that your roof is in need of immediate repair so your home can maintain its protection from the elements.
  2. Choose roofing tiles that are fire-resistant and tough enough to hold up under the impact of hail. Polymer, slate and shake shingles are your best choices.
  3. Pressure Wash Your House Siding Annually – With time, algae and dirt build up on your house siding, making it appear old, cruddy looking and uncared-for. Wash any dirty areas of your siding with detergents and a pressure washer, taking care to thoroughly clean the areas where a lot of accumulation is present. Avoid using a pressure washer to clean your windows and trim, since the high pressure can easily damage these areas. While you are cleaning the siding, check for any warping, insect damage, buckling or paint cracking that may have developed over the past year. Quickly repair any damage you find.
  4. Check Your Gutters Often – Gutters are designed to direct rainfall away from your house, so keep them clean. Inspect your gutters regularly for any blockage (especially from leaves), cracks or even holes that may be hindering proper drainage. Your gutters should be appropriately sloped and firmly attached to your home as well. To prevent damage, ensure that the water that drains from your rain gutters directs away from your home and any landscaping you have around your house.

As any homeowner knows, when a home goes neglected for long, things will go awry. Don’t wait until it’s too late to deal with any small problems that develop in and around your home. Again, minor issues that are easy and cheap to fix will likely develop into big problems – ones that are difficult and expensive to fix – so give your home and your pocketbook a break and repair the small issues as soon as you find them.