Spring and summer are the peak seasons for home improvement projects. They’re also when unscrupulous scam artists try to take advantage of local homeowners. One well-worn rule stands out: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” It isn’t unusual anywhere in Sun Prairie WI to find salespeople knocking on doors to offer special limited time deals on roofing, siding or new windows.
Another rule worth noting is: “You get what you pay for.” New windows or other home improvement projects are a serious investment in your home. They reflect important decisions revolving on more than price. Be aware of:
- Quality workmanship takes skill and experience – beware of a contractor without solid references for both. Will the low priced contractor be around in a year if you need follow-up? Is a really low price worth the risk?
- Just because a contractor represents a big company doesn’t mean there’s value to go with it. Big companies have lots of overhead and costs to cover. Be sure you’re getting premium service if you decide to pay premium prices.
Do Your Home Improvement Homework
Before agreeing to anything, it’s wise to look into a company’s history and track record. Here is a list of critical signals that indicate a would-be contractor isn’t up to the job:
- You cannot confirm the company name, address of phone number or any of the salesperson’s credentials.
- You’re pressured to make a quick decision at your first meeting.
- You are offered a special limited-time offer only good today.
- You’re offered a special low rate because “we’re doing work with your neighbors.”
- You will get a special low rate because your home will be used as a model or in advertising.
- The salesperson cannot show you written references – instead points out all the neighbors they’re working with.
- There are no up-to-date reference materials or literature.
- Salespeople cannot verify licensing or proof of insurance.
- The company has no website and is unknown to the Better Business Bureau.
- Salespeople only talk about price and don’t listen to what you may want or need.
Immediate “red flags” go up for the following:
- If payment for the entire job is required in advance.
- When salespeople ask for payment in cash.
- Whenever a contractor fails to inform you of your right to cancel the contract for any reason within three days – the law gives you a grace period to cancel the contract without any penalty if you change your mind. Local laws may require you to be informed in writing – it’s your Right of Rescission.
Final Review Before Signing Anything
Finally, before you commit to any formal agreement review everything one more time, including:
- Compare quotes – it is always wise to get more than one potential contractor to offer advice and a quote on a home improvement project. Double-check to be sure the one you choose represents the best value – not just the lowest price.
- Get details in writing – get all pricing and deadline commitments in writing so there are no surprises or extras.
- Read everything carefully – don’t get caught in a scam buried in the “fine print.”
- Get a workmanship guarantee – in addition to product warranties, get a written statement from the contractor detailing how the company backs up its workmanship.
- See a copy of contractor license and insurance – you do not want to be libel for any injuries in or around your home.
- Agree on who is responsible for obtaining permits and inspections – a licensed, reliable contractor will automatically accept this responsibility and will know exactly what is needed and when.
Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is an experienced and knowledgeable source for materials and the skills to upgrade, repair or expand your home. Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500 – call or email us – for all your home improvement needs in your Sun Prairie WI home.