Tips for improvements and home repairs
Get recommendations and references. Talk to friends, family and others who have used contractor services for similar work.
Get at least three quotes in writing. Insist that contractors visit your home to evaluate what needs to be done.
Check the history of complaints against the contractor. You can get this information from the consumer affairs office (DACO).
Get the names of the suppliers and find out if the contractor makes the payments on time.
Confirm that the contractor is insured. This must have a civil liability insurance, a material damage insurance and a compensation insurance for work accidents for their workers and subcontractors. Also check with your insurance company if you are covered in case of any damage or injury that may occur.
Insist on a written contract that establishes exactly the type of work to be performed, the quality of the materials to be used, guarantees, schedules, names of all subcontractors, total labor price and payment schedule.
Know your payment options. Compare the cost of obtaining your own loan with the cost of financing the contractor.
Do not make any final payment or sign any document until you are satisfied with the work and until you know that the subcontractors and suppliers have received your payment. Some state laws allow subcontractors and suppliers who have not received their payment to put a withholding tax on their home for bills that the contractor has left unpaid.
Pay by credit card whenever you can. You may be entitled to withhold payment from the credit card company until problems are resolved.
Be especially careful if the contractor:
Go door to door or look for you
By “coincidence” brings with it leftover materials from a recent job
He says that the work will be a “demonstration”
Offer discounts if you get other customers
Quote a price that does not match other budgets
Press it for you to make a quick decision
Offers a too long warranty
It can only be located through messages left in a voice answering machine
Drive a vehicle that does not carry the company’s name
He asks you to pay for all the work in advance
In most home improvement or remodeling jobs, federal law grants a period of three business days to cancel the payment without penalty. Of course, you will be responsible for the payment of any service you have received. State laws, such as the three-day reflection period, may also offer some protection.
Finally, remember that if you finance the improvement works with a loan on the accumulated value of your home and you do not make your payments, you may lose the home.