Five Ways to Avoid Being Ripped Off By Contractors
Remodelling your house can be quite a nightmare, especially if you are dealing with the wrong individuals. Sadly, this situation is all too common among homeowners who want to improve their residence. When you are being ripped off, you can lose a lot of money or you get sub-par construction quality for the agreed amount. Here are things you should do:
- Don’t immediately hire the lowest bidder: It doesn’t mean that the lowest bidder is always bad, but some could have dirty tricks up their sleeves. A common trick is that they intentionally not complete the project as agreed, then they say that it’s due to unforeseen conditions or problems with design drawings. When hiring a contractor, make sure that they will agree to specific project value. So, they won’t be able to increase funds later. Also, the project contract agreement needs to emphasize on the completion of the project. So, contractors will be motivate to complete their tasks.
- Check the size of the bond: By being bonded, it means that the contractor stores an amount of money in the special account. You will hold the bond until the home improvement project achieves the Substantial Completion stage. This will protect you against a contractor that disappears before the project is completed. If the contractor can’t perform, you may issue the notice of termination. You can use the money in the bond certificate to hire another contractor who can finish the job properly.
- Don’t allow substitutions: If you allow the contractor to choose products like carpet, paint, fixtures, plumbing parts and others, then you need to legally allow that in the construction documents. Sometimes, contractors promise that you can get better items for unusually lower price. For homeowners with limited budget, it can be tempting to just say yes. Only allow substitution if you are convinced about the trustworthiness of the contractor, so you can really save money.
- Don’t always take their word on the percentage completed: Every week, your contractor needs to submit a report on the extent of the project. If you are not sure whether the contractor is honest, always open to a possibility that they overstate the percentage of the project completed. Contactors could do this if they want to get cash faster. Make sure that the contractor doesn’t really seek to extra a big percentage of the agreed fees early on. If you trust dishonest contactors too much, it will be an incentive for them to abandon the project.
- Make sure that sub-contractors get paid: There could be one or more subcontractors who are working under the main contractor. Usually, it’s the responsibility of the main contractor to make sure that sub-contractors get paid. If sub-contractors don’t get paid, it’s possible that they place a lien on the property, to ensure that they will be paid. If the main contractor secretly wishes to abandon your project, you can guarantee that sub-contractors won’t get paid. Make sure that the construction document includes the schedule of payments to sub-contractors.