Ways to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

by Donald F. Norton 10/06/2019

Do the echoing thumps of a hammer, or the high pitched-squeals of a table saw trigger any Deja-vu? That is right, the season of home improvement is officially here. Whether you are adding a deck, installing a new window or perhaps replacing a roof, the fact is you're most likely going to hire a contractor to make this happen.

To avoid falling victim to home improvement fraud, you need to know how they operate and the techniques they use. Once equipped with this knowledge, it's tough to become a victim of the scam.

It's crucial to research and ask questions about their services before hiring a contractor. However, you can never be too careful, so brace yourself with these tips on how to identify a contractor that is trying to defraud you:

  1. Your contractor states that their service to you is going to be a demonstration. 
  2. They prefer you pay in full before work commences.
  3. They give a lifetime or unrealistic warranty.
  4. Their business number is unregistered on any directories.
  5. They pressure you into making hasty decisions.

Contractor scams are one of the most significant issues in the contract industry, and those who fall a victim, end up spending thousands of dollars to remedy the situation. According to many victims, scammers work by putting you off balance and luring you into a vulnerable position that allows them to drain you out financially before you even know what's happening.

A common trick used by scam artists is to knock at your door and offer to do a free inspection. At the mention of free, you let your guide down and in turn, pay for things you know nothing about later.

Another example of contractor scams is the roofing scam. These scammers are popularly known as storm chasers. They travel the country, looking for desperate and vulnerable homeowners to scam under the guise of roofing. They do a poor job and most often, leave the town afterward, thereby ensuring the homeowner is stranded and swindled.

From the above tips, you can understand how they work and counter their manipulative techniques without any hurdle. In addition to being informed, whenever you’re in doubt, always remember not to be in haste to make decisions. Avoid the offer of free home inspections without proper verification and lastly, don't permit work without a duly signed contract. Knowledge is power, and that is the best tool you have against contractor scammers.

About the Author
Author

Donald F. Norton

Thank you for viewing my website, and why I hope you will choose me to represent you as your agent whether your buying or selling here in the Boston/North Shore area. A lifelong resident of Somerville, married to Patricia in 1967 and together we raised a small family, we owned our first home in 1972 a single family and our second home was in 1976 in the City Hall area of Somerville, we both have worked for the city off and on over the years, but together we got our Brokers license in 1977. With a small group of individuals we opened our first company in 1983, lower Broadway with Ross Blouin, Don Snow, Ron Marble, Roy Scarpato, Jerair Gharibian and Stan Koty we ran a successful Real Estate company till 1990 when we all broke up and decide to go on our own way, still maintaining a friendship the entire time.    In 1990, Patricia and I purchased the ERA franchise for the local area, that we kept for just about 20 years and then decided it was time to move on without the high cost of a franchise and to maintain the business on our reputation which was and is one of the best in the area. We pride ourselves on innovations and moving ahead of the business, being first in a web page using the internet to market homes, being one of the first to look at Buyer agency as a unique opportunity to represent clients interest in buying as well as our clients the sellers in selling. We are proud of our work, our long time in the business, lots of agents and brokers come and go, we are still here, one of the oldest companies to keep on moving ahead. I am also a state certified Real Estate Teacher, since early 1990's. I have taught at Somerville High Adult Evening School for about 18 years, successfully having a high success rate in students passing the exam. I am a member of the TAN network of broker/agents, Top Agent Network, which is an exclusive organization of only those agents who have obtained top sales over the years, I rank in the top 20% of the agents/brokers active today and have for many years. I have sold over the years, churches, shopping centers, large commercial and all kinds of residential properties throughout Massachusetts since 1977. I personally and as a broker/owner have never had a violation of Ethics or even a lawsuit for myself or our company. I teach our agents to represent clients in buying or selling a property as if it's their own transaction. We stand by our clients as if they were the only ones we represent.