It is official; we made it through another winter as spring arrives this week. Whether Mother Nature recognizes that spring is here is, of course, another question. That being said, before too long, many of us are going to assess the damage done by winter to our homes. Therefore, as a result, we will be hiring contractors to do the work for us. Considering a house is generally someone’s single largest investment, it is important to hire the right people for the job.
When it comes to home improvement work, the industry has many quality companies and individuals to service your needs. However, the industry also attracts its fair share of hucksters and scammers, so it is important before you agree to retain someone’s services that you do your homework. You want to be prepared, so when it comes time to contact companies and have them give you a bid, you’re only dealing with reputable companies. As far as I’m concerned, before you contact a company, you ought to have done your research ahead of time. After all, there are some very slick salespeople who are very good at their job, and they may get you to agree to something that may not be in your best interest. Therefore, if you are going to do some home improvement this spring or summer, now is the time to do your homework.
In doing your research to find a quality contractor, the internet is obviously a great place to start. There is a wealth of information that you can find online about a contractor. Not only can you visit the company’s website, but there are also a variety of very reputable websites dedicated to home improvement. You can also check companies out through the State of Michigan and even through the Better Business Bureau. In addition, don’t forget to talk to family and friends to get recommendations. Of course, even if you do get a recommendation from family or friends you do still need to do your research to check the company out. The bottom line: By selecting a quality contractor, you’ll have a greater opportunity of having your job done correctly, on time, and at the price you agreed to.
It’s also important to remind you that there are a fair number of scam artists who come out of the woodwork this time of year. Many of them will show up at your front door soliciting work. Many times, these companies take substantial deposits and never come back to complete the work. My general rule is if someone shows up at my front door to sell me some home improvement work, I politely say no thank you and shut the door. My recommendation – you should do the same thing. That’s not to say that everyone who shows up at your door is trying to con you; however, in many cases that is exactly what they are trying to do, and sometimes it’s very difficult to tell the difference between the two. Therefore, my advice is it’s better to be safe than sorry.
One last note, before you sign a home improvement contract, take the time to read it, and if there’s something you don’t understand, make sure you don’t sign the contract until you do. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with taking the contract home and reading it, and particularly if it’s a substantial improvement, you may even want to have an attorney read the document for you. After all, more likely than not they had an attorney draft it for them so there’s nothing wrong with having an attorney review it for you.
Rick is a fee-only financial advisor. If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.