Spring is finally here, and pleasant weather together with moderate temperatures makes us spend more time outside. That is when you start to notice the need for minor improvements on your house and your property. You might want to fix your fence or build yourself a bigger terrace. Good weather conditions can also make you do some remodeling work on your interior as well. You might want to hire a professional to do the job. But how do you know who to call? Can you spot a fraudulent home builder now when it’s construction season? Many of them are our and about looking for the next scam victim. We can help you with some common signs of fraudulent behavior that you should be aware of.
Professional contractors don’t come to your house uninvited
It will help if you put some serious effort into finding the best general contractors in Los Angeles. The search can take some time, and you want to consult your friends or coworkers for recommendations. It is easier to trust someone if you already have a positive testimonial from one of your close friends. Suppose one day a contractor comes to your house, uninvited offering their service. Please do not fall into the trap of getting along with his unsolicited help.
Think about it. Why would a professional, legitimate home contractor be driving around offering services to everyone on your street? If you find yourself in such a situation, you better check his license with the Better Business Bureau and other relevant institutions. Be sure he is a legitimate, licensed, and accredited professional before letting him into your house.
Extremely low prices are usually a sign of a scam
An excellent way to spot a fraudulent homebuilder is to look at his offer. If the offer is not very detailed but rather vague, missing many essential components, be vigilant. If his bid is too low, lower than the market price, or what other contractors charge, it can be a red flag. Usually, when the price is too good to be true, it means you will potentially have some hidden charges along the way. If you are looking for custom home builders in Los Angeles, be sure to get a minimum of three bids from different businesses. That way, you can compare prices and know easily if someone is trying to con you into accepting their extremely low bid. Look closely at the details of the offer and contain the cost for materials, the cost of labor, and other relevant costs.
Spot a fraudulent home builder by checking his references
You have finally decided to do some remodeling inside your house. Now, you are in need of a professional who can get the job done quickly and efficiently. When you get into the search for general contractors or interior design companies in Los Angeles, you should always check their references. A professional general contractor should be able to provide you with a list of references. You can even ask them how it was to work on a specific project and see if there are inconsistencies in their story.
Do not think of this as excessive detective work, but rather make sure you partner with the right company. You are remodeling your home and should be entitled to pick and choose to whom you entrust your property. Also, you can ask your insurance company for recommendations. They should be able to provide you with a list of licensed home builders.
Insist on a signed contract and forget about a handshake deal
Legitimate home builders would never ask you to shake hands on a deal. You should expect a contract to sign and thoroughly read before signing. The contract should have all the terms and conditions of your agreement. So, the next time you look for a bathroom remodeling contractor Los Angeles, ask about payment methods and a written agreement.
If a contractor says he accepts only cash payments and asks you for money in advance, it should be a clear sign of a scam. Making inquiries about payment methods are an excellent way to spot a fraudulent home builder. Choose general contractors in Los Angeles who accept major credit cards and give out receipts. Also, insist on a written agreement between the two parties, as you want proof of what you shook hands on.
No insurance usually means no liability
All general contractors should have some insurance. The most common type is general liability insurance, and you should ask your contractor if insurance will protect your property. Also, if a general contractor has insurance, it will help pay for potential property and equipment damages. Other than that, some general contractors have insurance covering their workers if they get a work-related injury on site. Their insurance price will depend on a set of different factors, including their size, services they offer, their location, and the number of employees. You can ask for an insurance policy number or call their insurance company to ensure they are covered.
To summarize it all up
There are many ways to see clear signs of fraudulent behavior among contractors. There are specific rules you should follow not to fall into the trap of a scam artist offering to fix your bathroom with cheap leftover material:
- Check your homebuilder’s credentials and references
- Make sure he is licensed, and you have all the necessary permits
- Beware of extremely low bids, below maker price
- Ask for at least three offers from three different businesses, and compare pricing
- Never agree to pay cash, upfront
- Insist on having a written agreement before starting anything
- Don’t let strangers you see for the first time scare you into accepting their offer
If you remember these easy and simple rules, you shouldn’t have a problem spotting a fraudulent homebuilder.