As the rebuilding process begins following the devastating wildfires in Southern California, homeowners should be extremely cautious when hiring contractors. A good, trustworthy contractor will be a key partner in the recovery process. However, unscrupulous contractors may take advantage of people who have experienced a catastrophic event. Homeowners should take their time in choosing true professionals to repair their homes.
Ten Checks to Avoid Getting Scammed…
- Take your time in choosing true professionals to repair your home.
- Get estimates from several licensed, bonded contractors.
- Check their credentials with your local Better Business Bureau or Home Builders Association.
- Inspect contractors’ licenses and proof of liability insurance.
- Get a contract in writing.
- Avoid paying money up-front. Some reputable contractors will require partial, up-front payment, but these pre-work payments shouldn’t exceed the cost of materials or 20 percent of the total estimate.
- Follow local building codes and inspection procedures.
- If anyone performs unauthorized work on your house or property and demands payment consider contacting local authorities.
- Avoid signing over an insurance settlement check to the contractor.
- Immediately report any suspicious behavior to your local police, sheriff’s department or the California Department of Insurance.
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Laura Strykowski, (847) 402.5600