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Category:  Home Improvement

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15 Contractor "Red Flags" Every Homeowner Needs to Know About

15 Contractor "Red Flags" Every Homeowner Needs to Know About

By Paul G Lawrence

Even the worst contractors can give you a "warm and fuzzy" feeling during the hiring interview. They have done it so many times that they are really good at it. The right questions and patience will help you to avoid making the wrong choice. Pay attention to your "gut feeling"...it carries more weight than you may think.

Most contractors are sincere, legitimate business people. They are just trying to make a decent, honest living like you and I. Like any industry, there are always going to be some "bad apples" for which laws are created and enforced.

Below are 15 contractor "red flags" that every homeowner needs to be aware of before hiring a contractor to do your home project. AVOID any contractor when:

1. You can't verify the contractor's name, address, telephone number or credentials of the contractor - does he/she really exist? What are they trying to hide?

2. The contractor tries to pressure you into signing a contract - politely say "I need to think this over" and then ask them to leave.

3. The contractor says your home will be used for advertising purposes so you will be given a "special, low rate" - sounds to good to be true? Probably is!

4. The contractor tells you a special price is available only if you sign the contract "today" - NEVER SIGN A CONTRACT UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD TIME TO READ IT OVER - then ask questions if they arise.

5. No references are furnished or they can not be verified - this is simple, no references, no job! Period!

6. Information you receive from the contractor is out-of-date or no longer valid - if the contractor can't even keep HIS records up to date how do you think he will treat YOUR project?

7. You are unable to verify license or insurance information - another simple one, no insurance, no license = no job!

8. You are asked to pay for the entire job in advance, or to pay in cash instead of by check or money order to the company itself - common sense should tell you that there is something wrong whenhappens - deposits are usually limited to protect the homeowner (in Maine it is one-third of the total project cost).

9. The contractor does not offer you a VALID contract - another ILLEGAL sign - any home project contract in Maine, $3000 or more, is REQUIRED to have a written contract.

Also, be wary when:

10. You are given answers that are vague or reluctant - quality, legitimate contractors know their business and do not waste time "beating around the bush".

11. The contractor exhibits poor communication skills - if a contractor can not even call you if he is going to be late for an appointment-beware!.

12. The contractor is not accessible - most contractors have cell phones which give them the flexibility they need to run their business so this shouldn't be an excuse. Even if they don't have a cell phone, good contractors will get back to you as soon as possible!

13. Your questions are not answered to your satisfaction - this is not good - continue to ask the same questions until they are answered to your liking.

14. The contractor is impatient and does not listen to you - don't hire them!

15. Only the work is addressed, instead of your needs as the homeowner - your needs are probably more important than anything else about the project.

Educate yourself about how contractors react to certain questions and situations you ask them about during the interview process. Remember if what they are telling you "sounds too good to be true", it is probably a good sign that something is not right. Nothing is free and no one gives anything away. Planning, patience and doing your research will help you get off on the right foot and ensure the success of your project.

Paul Lawrence has owned and operated Home Project Partners, a free Maine-based contractor referral service, since 2002. He helps bring homeowners together with reliable, quality-conscious, pre-screened home contractors skilled in numerous trades.

For more information contact Paul at info@HomeProjectPartners.com or visit online at http://www.HomeProjectPartners.com

 

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