How to Avoid Home-Improvement Scams

As the weather continues to warm up around the country, many homeowners are taking advantage of the favorable conditions to launch a home-improvement project. Whether you're replacing your roof, installing a deck or building an addition, be sure to take the proper time to carefully plan your project, create an accurate budget and, most important of all, enlist a credible professional. 

According to AARP Pennsylvania, contractor fraud and home-improvement scams are on the rise as warmer weather causes homeowners to embark on long-delayed repairs and renovations. Such frauds and scams can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and leave them with shoddy workmanship, unfinished projects or even damage to their homes. 

Scammers often target older adults who may be more trusting, says AARP, but anyone can fall victim to these scams. Protect yourself by taking the following steps before contracting with any professional:


Do your research: 

Before hiring a contractor, check their credentials and references. Ask for a list of previous clients and follow up with them to gain first-hand knowledge of their experience with the contractors you're considering.


Get multiple estimates: 

Don't settle for the first contractor who comes along. Get multiple estimates and compare them to ensure you are getting a fair price.


Don't pay upfront: 

Avoid contractors who demand upfront payment or large deposits. Reputable contractors typically require a deposit or payment after the work has begun.


Get everything in writing: 

Make sure to get a written contract that includes all the details of the project, including the timeline, payment schedule and materials to be used.


Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics: 

Don't be pressured into making a decision on the spot. Take time to review the contract and make sure you understand all the terms.


AARP advises that homeowners remain proactive to protect themselves from scams. If you wait too long to check references, get multiple estimates and talk to previous clients, it could be too late. Be sure to check contracts thoroughly and question anything that doesn't make sense to you before signing. If you do fall victim to fraud, contact local law enforcement immediately. 


Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2023. All rights reserved

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