By Anessa V. Cohen
Now that everyone is looking for contractors to fix a variety of Sandy-caused damage, I thought I would reprint an article I saw online, written by the Pottstown Building Industries Exchange, warning homeowners to be careful about contractors they hire that were previously unknown to them. Unfortunately, disasters like this cause a run on qualified contractors to get needed repairs done as soon and as fast as possible, and those grateful just to find someone willing to do to the work might not take the extra time needed to check out the credentials of a stranger claiming to be a contractor offering his services.
Here is the article:
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In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Pottstown Building Industries Exchange (NARI-BIE) offers tips for homeowners affected by flood damage to avoid home repair scams.
Con artists often show up at a homeowner’s door after a disaster offering an array of services and demanding a hefty down payment up front. They might offer a “great deal,” based on using materials left over from a neighbor’s job, but homeowners should beware that a “great deal” isn’t always what it seems. Frequently, these fly-by-night operators drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates, or set up temporary offices from which they can move quickly once authorities start looking for them. Before writing that check, and especially before allowing any unknown individual into your home, NARI suggests that a homeowner:
• Get the name and address of the company that person allegedly represents.
• Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Be sure you understand everything in the contract and that any verbal promises made are included in the contract.
• Determine how long the company has been in business and call organizations with which the contractor is affiliated, such as NARI or other trade associations, to determine the firm’s legitimacy.
• Ask for references and contact each one.
• Remember that any legitimate company that wants your business will be more than willing to allow you the time to do your homework. Don’t fall prey to high-pressure tactics such as “this is the only chance you have” or “by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone.”
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I think this says it all and is important for all of us to remember. There are plenty of great contractors out there; just take the time when you interview to make sure the guy you hire is one of them. v
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa.cohen@AVCrealty.com.