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Protect yourself by researching prospective contractors

The outdoor deck where you’ve hosted plenty of lively and fun-filled family and neighbor gatherings is in need of major repairs. Portions of the wood have broken or rotted. It needs painting, and water has leaked from it into your kitchen located just beneath it.

It’s time to find the right contractor, someone or some team that will help you avoid being the victim of a consumer rip-off. Get started by seeking references your friends, acquaintances and work colleagues who may have had a similar home project.

Give the contractors a complete once-over

Since this will be a major project, there are many things you will need to consider as well as do. They include:

  • Obtain several estimates from contractors. This will provide a range of prices.
  • Stay away from low bids. If you receive an estimate that’s much lower than other contractors, toss it out. There’s something wrong there. This represents a “too-good-to-be true” situation. Accepting such a low bid likely means expensive repairs in the future. Good, dependable and reliable work is not inexpensive.
  • Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. The insurance should include liability coverage and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Research the contractor to determine whether any complaints have been filed against him or her.
  • Interview the contractor in person. Discuss the job, its challenges and your expectations. This will help you in determining their experience, whether they are personable and willing to listen to you.
  • Obtain references and check them. Once you’ve confirmed the work they have done, review it in person and talk to the previous clients.
  • Stay away from unlicensed or uninsured contractors. This includes itinerant contractors who may show up at your door unannounced. You just might smell trouble.
  • Avoid upfront payments that are unreasonably and exorbitantly high. The contractor in question just may take the money and run. If you’re making an advance payment, make sure you are comfortable with the amount you agree upon. Typically, a first payment should represent about 10 percent of the project’s entire cost.
  • Sign a contract.

There’s no question that you have to be thorough. After all, this is your house, and you want this project to go as smoothly as possible. If you’ve done your research, you just may gain peace of mind as well as a renovation project that will last you for years to come.

 

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David M. Duree and Associates, P.C.
312 South Lincoln Avenue
O'Fallon, IL 62269
Phone: 618-589-0956
Fax: 618-628-0259
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P.O. Box 771638
St. Louis, Missouri 63177