How To Avoid Home Repair Scams

by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach on April 20, 2011

in Scams

Beware of strangers that knock on your door offering to do repairs such as repave your driveway, replace your gutters or landscape your property using leftover materials from a previous job. Often, they will give you a verbal quote offering to do the work and say that they would normally charge twice the price for the repairs. The scammers probably will not offer nor provide a written estimate and will require a significant upfront payment. Here are a few tips to avoid home repair fraud:

  • Ask to see the contractor’s business license and other credentials.
  • Use local contractors when possible; never let strangers into your home without verifying their business affiliation.
  • Get a second opinion about what work needs to be done. The web is full of sites that offer consumer feedback on various businesses.
  • Get written estimates from several licensed firms. Remember, the lowest price is not necessarily the best deal, nor does the highest quote suggest superior service.
  • Ask for local references and call them.
  • Before any work begins or money is paid, get a written, signed contract that spells out all the details of the work, including materials, deadlines and the total cost.
  • Make sure the contractor obtains all applicable permits and that all required inspections are completed.
  • Check on the work as it is being done.
  • In the case of exterior work such as driveways, gutters, sidewalks, landscaping and fence installations, ask for references for work done by the contractor 1-2 years ago.

Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true…beware!

This Article Answered The Following Money Questions:

  • housholdrepairscams
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Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach

Personal Finance Expert and Co-Founder at Ask The Money
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of numerous books on personal finance. She appears frequently as an expert commentator on television, radio and in print.

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