Don't get taken advantage of!
Avoiding contractor scams. Part I.
We all know that improving your home can increase your home value, but before diving in be on the lookout for sharks. There are many honest contractors (Putnam Builders) out there, but there are just as many schemers that are just after your money. So before you dive into a home improvement project, read on to learn to identify these scam artists.
Most scam artists attempt to take advantage of what you don’t know. As a result, they target older home owners and home owners that have been victims of a weather related disaster.
There are a few general signs to keep an eye out for. If a “contractor” or “builder” does any of the following, you should be skeptical:
- Asks you to pay for the entire home improvement job upfront, or my cash or cashier’s check. Pay them and you’ll never see them or your money again.
- Does not have a website or online presence—or their website looks like it was cheaply constructed. If they won’t invest proper time and effort into their business, why would they invest proper time and effort into your home?
- Does not have a physical business address. You should be able to come to the office to ask questions.
- Offers you a discount on your home improvement project if you find them more customers. Quality contractors rely on their reputation as a quality builder to find customers—they don’t need your help.
- Asks you to get the required building permits. This is like going to a restaurant and the cook demands you bring the ingredients.
- Prices their services low. You get what you pay for—plain and simple.
- Pushes you to act immediately to get a special offer or rate. No contractor’s time is worth more on Wednesday than it was on Tuesday.
- Pressures you to do immediate repairs to your home because the safety of your family is at risk. This is most likely a scare tactic. Your wallet is what is in danger here.
- Encourages you not to read contracts before signing them or asks you to sign blank pages. A quality contractor will spend hours with you going over every page of the contract and will answer every question you have.
- Knocks on your door unsolicited. The only people that should be knocking on your door are Girl Scouts---and they have cookies.
- Offers you free materials leftover from another job. When quality contractors order supplies they order the exact amount needed so there is no waste. If they have leftover materials it is because they didn’t finish the last job or they over-ordered and charged their previous customer. Either way, you don’t want to be in the same position as their previous customer, so walk away.
- Talks fast to try to confuse you. Quality contractors want you to understand the full breadth of the project so there is no confusion later. So quality contractors will talk slowly, in plain English, and make sure that you are both in agreement and understand every step of the project.
At Putnam Builders we rely on our quality reputation and presence in the community. If you’re considering a home improvement project, such as an addition, renovation, or are interested in building a custom home, please contact us for a FREE Consultation.
Putnam Builders has been building custom homes in Texas gulf coast communities for over 54 years.