Don’t Let This Happen to You
You’ve Been Scammed! What you should know before hiring a bathroom remodeling company. So what do you do now? Having a remodeler redesign your bathroom could be a pleasant experience or can turn out to be your worst nightmare.
If you do not choose a qualified and experienced remodeler, your bathroom remodeling project could literally cost you a small fortune, and could be a very disappointing venture. Knowing what to look for in a remodeler, is the first step to hiring the right person for the job.
Do your Research Before Trusting a Remodeler to Redesign Your Bath
• Ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and anyone else you know who has had remodeling work done.
• Contact independent trade contractors or building material suppliers for referrals
• Check to see if the remodeler you have in mind has professional certifications, such as a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) certificate.
• Talk to trade associations, such as the Remodeler TM Council or use the national list of local NAHB Remodelers in your area. The National Association of Home Builders
Once you have some idea of who you would like to consider as a professional remodeler for your bath, you should do even more research to be sure this is the remodeler for what you have in mind for your new bathing space.
After you have narrowed down your search, contact the local Better Business Bureau to be sure there are not any unresolved complaints for this remodeler. You should check to be sure the remodeler you have chosen has the appropriate licenses needed by contacting your state’s local contractor licensing agency and state and building inspectors.
Just because a remodeler hands you a list of people as a reference, does not mean these references are valid. It is up to you to contact the references on this list to be sure they are valid and take the time to interview the references.
If at all possible, try to make an appointment in their home so that you can look at the remodeler’s work. Listed below are some questions to consider asking at the interview.
• Would you use this company again?
• Did the remodeler clean up his work area when finished for the day?
• Did they show up when they said they would?
• Did they finish the project according to the deadline?
• Did they keep the project within the budget?
• Was the remodeler easy to get along with and open to your opinions?
• Did they keep the lines of communication open with you regarding the project?
Protect Yourself Against Rip-Off-Artist
Sadly, there are people out there that will take advantage of you that is why whatever agreement you make you must get it in writing.
They will take advantage of your excitement of remodeling your bathroom and are really excellent with the sales pitch. They can reel you in by making you feel that you can trust them.
These scam artists know what you are looking for in a remodeler, and they will try to make you think they can give you exactly what you need. They will make you trust in them so that you do not feel obligated to check into their references. They will then ask for that big down payment and skip town.
Looking for Warning Signs
You need to be the one to protect yourself from these types of people. There are warning signs that can tip you off to someone who is trying to pull a fast one on you.
• If a contractor is soliciting business door to door with a high pressure sales tactic, you should pass this one up. There are plenty of respectable companies out there that do not need to resort to these pushy sales pitches.
• If you can’t verify the remodeler’s name, address, phone number or credentials. Beware. This is a sure sign of a scam and you’d better call the Better Business Bureau in your area to report the incident.
• If the company claims to be endorsed by the Federal Housing Administration for the Title 1 Home Improvement Loan Program, you should definitely check into this. This is a scam that is common. More information can be obtained about this type of advertising from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s web site.
• If the remodeler does not give you references or if the references he gave you were not happy with the work, you should just pass this one up.
• If you were asked to pay for the entire job in advance, definitely beware. You should never be asked to pay for an entire job up front.
Something important to know, if you do sign a contract and decide you are not sure, you can cancel an agreement up to 72 hours if the contract was signed somewhere other than the remodeler’s place of business, such as your home.
This is a law under the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling Off Rule. Take some time to know what you should be looking for in a remodeler and check his or her references to ensure your bathroom renovation project will be exactly how you envisioned it.
This commentary touches on Some Other Relevant Areas of Choosing a Remodeling Contractor and this editorial explains Municipal Building Codes and this one talks about How to Get The Most Out of Your Home Improvement Investment.