There are many people who fall for home improvement scams. Here is a list of the top 5 most common and least damaging which can be avoided as much as possible if you follow these tips:
1) Demolition/construction scam – This is when a company promises to demolish your old building in exchange for an up-front payment. They will then come back at predetermined time with their “big” contract, along with guaranteed construction drawings that they have drawn themselves on paper!
2) Flooring scam – A person or company comes in and says you need new flooring because it’s rotting away or needs resurfacing. They offer to provide this service at no charge, saying they’ll just take care of everything while doing other work around your property like painting etc…
3) Greedy neighbor scammers – Neighbor offers cheap landscaping services but there appears to be something wrong about them not wanting the full amount upfront for their job either through cash payment or even by giving credit card numbers over the phone (never call any number from unknown). These types of companies may also ask you to sign paperwork over the phone before starting work so make sure before signing anything that you speak directly with someone face-to-face first!.
4) Fake appliances installer / contractor – Someone calls claiming they’re contracted out by Home Depot and mistakes your house number into theirs while conducting a survey. Then they say they’ve done all the surveys already since last year but didn’t get paid yet due to some technical issue (“technical issue”? yeah right!). After getting frustrated enough, chances are good that customer will give them access after verifying ID online so beware!.
5) Roof repair scammer – You meet someone at random asking for directions who claims he knows roofers nearby looking for clients but doesn’t mention what type of business he does..

The “home improvement scams against the elderly” is a scam where people target the elderly and offer to help them with home improvements. These are often times expensive projects that they have no way of paying for. The scammers will then take their money and disappear.

5 home improvement scams to avoid at all costs

Seniors have typically been the victims of home repair fraud, but the surge in work-from-home jobs, a paucity of tradesmen, and a scarcity of construction supplies has raised the risk of home improvement fraud.

Bringing a stranger into your house is a big step, particularly if you haven’t done your research. Every year, an estimated 20,000 to 100,000 fraudsters attempt to deceive homeowners, according to HomeAdvisor.

Knowing the warning signs of home renovation fraud will help you avoid being the next victim.

How to Buy a House Without Using a Realtor

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What Is a Scam in Home Improvement?

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When a firm or contractor — or a con artist impersonating as one — attempts to defraud a homeowner out of money in return for an incomplete or botched repair or remodel, it is known as a home improvement scam.

Home renovation con artists often go door to door looking for new victims. As a general rule, if something seems too good to be true, it generally is.

There are several types of home improvement scams. The elderly have been the most targeted, but individuals of all ages should be aware of these typical scams.

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1. The ‘Complimentary’ Inspection

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When it comes to someone popping up on your doorstep and promising a free examination, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” What is their ultimate goal?

Scammers and con artists, according to the Better Business Bureau, may talk their way into a property to check a roof, then inflict damage such as pulling off shingles to create a scenario that requires repairs.

AndreyPopov/istockphoto contributed this image.

2. Flyer Advertising

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Handymen often distribute leaflets across neighborhoods in the hopes that a small number of residents would call. Such random distributions in your community should be seen as a cue to double-check credentials and authenticity.

If you reside in an area prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, this may be a typical occurrence following a storm. Before turning over your insurance check to someone who drops over a flier, it’s a good idea to conduct some research.

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Contractors who go door-to-door

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A red flag is if a contractor comes to your door claiming to have leftover materials from another job and offers you services at a discount. While the door-to-door salesperson may be a legitimate contractor, the construction sector is flourishing, so anybody soliciting business by going door to door is unlikely to be a genuine professional or in high demand.

Monkeybusinessimages / istockphoto.

4. The Handshake Agreement

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There’s no contract? No work. Before any money is exchanged, homeowners should always have a solid contract in place. If a contractor requests for money, it might be a symptom of a con artist (or at least someone looking to avoid the IRS).

Similarly, the contractor should not demand more money than what was agreed upon in the original contract and scope of work. A possible fraud or an untrained contractor would claim unanticipated complications.

If the project has any possible variables, you should specify in the contract that any more work will need a change order, in which both parties agree to the additional work and a price.

Predictability is useful if you’ve secured a home renovation loan or other kind of financing.

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Contractors with No Credentials

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Many states don’t need a contractor to have a certificate if their yearly work is less than a particular amount. While a home remodeling firm or person without qualifications is rare, it is not unheard of.

In general, it’s a good idea to approach non-credentialed contractors with the understanding that they could not be real entrepreneurs.

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How to Spot a Scam in the Home Improvement Industry

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While it’s vital to be aware of home repair scams, it’s also crucial to remember that not every contractor is a con artist. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to prevent a home renovation scam in the future.

B4LLS / iStock contributed to this image.

1. Consider only licensed and insured contractors.

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Working with just licensed and insured experts is usually a good idea, but in this situation, a contractor with their own license and insurance is far less likely to be a con artist.

Calling the Better Business Bureau and obtaining their rating, as well as asking whether they have any complaints against them, is one approach to do a background check on a contractor prospect.

Image courtesy of Antonio Diaz / Getty.

2. Ask for referrals from people you trust.

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Working with contractors that come highly recommended by friends, family, coworkers, or acquaintances is one approach to prevent being cheated. Hiring a worker from an internet source is always a risk, therefore the more personal relationships you have to contractors — such as connections to people who have actually employed them in the past — the less likely you are to be scammed.

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3. Obtain many estimates

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You should get quotes for any building or remodeling job. A minimum of three quotes will usually give you a pricing range for your home renovation projects.

You’re less likely to be scammed by someone attempting to take advantage of you because you live in a high-end area or drive a fine automobile if you acquire quotes from many skilled contractors.

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4. Carefully read the contract

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Not reading the contract in full is one of the simplest ways to be taken advantage of in any job. You’re setting yourself up for possible complications if the contract is just one page long and doesn’t lay out the fundamentals like budget, deposit, timeline, or how to manage change orders as soon as money is exchanged and work begins.

If you have any concerns about the contract that the contractor sends you, you may want to hire a lawyer to evaluate it and make any required adjustments.

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The Conclusion

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Get recommendations, ask contractors for references, read any contracts carefully, and only choose workers who are licensed and insured to avoid home repair scams.

3 Home Loan Suggestions

  1. A 20% down payment is often required by mortgage lenders. For qualified first-time homeowners, however, some lenders provide mortgages with as little as 3% down.
  2. If you don’t have the means to rebuild or remodel your house, a personal or home improvement loan may be a better alternative than a construction loan since it is quicker and simpler to get.
  3. You should find out whether there are any origination, prepayment, or other costs before committing to take out a personal loan from a lender.

Image credit: iStock/Thiago Santos

FAQ

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What should you do if you’re duped by a contractor?

If you are the victim of a home repair scam, there are many organizations you may contact for assistance. Start by contacting your local FBI office, then report the scam to the National Consumers League’s fraud website. You may also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and contact Call for Action, a consumer advocacy organization that investigates unscrupulous contractors.

What are some things you should never say to a contractor?

A typical blunder is accepting a substantial deposit without a promise to begin work. It’s also crucial to inform the contractor that you’ll be expecting certain milestones to be reached as the project progresses.

You may frequently lawfully withhold payment until the entire scope of work is performed as described in the contractual agreement if a contractor does not maintain their end of the bargain.

What is the appropriate amount of a deposit to offer a contractor?

A building project typically requires a deposit of 10% to 25%. Home renovation rules in certain areas, for example, may restrict a contractor from accepting more than one-third of the work price as a deposit.

More information:

MediaFeed.org syndicated this story, which first appeared on SoFi.com.

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AlertMe

The “how to file a criminal charge against a contractor” is a scam that will cost you money. It is important to avoid this type of scam at all costs.

  • contractor scams complaints
  • handyman scams
  • what to do when scammed by a contractor
  • how to tell if a contractor is legit
  • contractor theft by deception
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