How to Avoid Getting Caught in a Home Repair Scam

Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to do some home repair work.

Home repair can be overwhelming, which is one of the reasons it is easy for home repair scam artists to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. However, there are telltale signs of home repair scams and watching out for them can save you time, money and a huge headache.

Avoid Unlicensed Contractors

This is one of the most obvious signs of a home repair scam. An unlicensed contractor will offer to do work on your home, even though they don’t have the license or insurance to back up the repairs they make. Unscrupulous contractors will prey on homeowners, promising results on certain repairs that they cannot or will not fulfill. Avoid home repair scams by consenting to work with licensed contractors without exception.

Get It All In Writing

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when dealing with home repairs is making verbal agreements about the work to be done. Once you determine the scope of the work to be done, avoid getting caught in a home repair scam by getting the full list of necessary repairs in writing.

Request a written estimate regarding what the work will cost and be sure that both parties sign before the work begins. This written estimate and repair list not only represents a legal agreement between you and your contract, but also, provides a point of reference to check once the work has been completed.

Insist on References and Follow Up

Ask the person doing the home repairs on your property to provide you with recent references for similar work they’ve completed. Then, follow up with those references to gauge their experiences with the individual.

One of the easiest ways to get caught up in a home repair scam is ask for references and then fail to follow up.

Verify Completion of the Repairs Before Rendering Final Payment

To avoid being scammed by an unscrupulous repair person, verify that the work has been completed to your satisfaction prior to making final payment. If you are unsure of how something should be working, ask for a detailed explanation from the repair person and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as necessary.

If need be, invite over a handy friend or family member to view the work as well, if you are unclear about how something should look or function.

While home repair scams can be costly, stressful experiences, it is possible to avoid them. Knowing the signs of a scam and taking steps to protect yourself can go a long way towards avoiding this situation.

Have you been scammed? The Federal Trade Commission has some resources that might help you and your neighbors. Pass it along.