Avoid home-renovation scams with BBB

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– It’s time to do some spring cleaning which may include some home improvement projects with the Better Business Bureau! Vice President of Communications Sheri Sword joined Living Dayton on Thursday featuring 2024 trends. 

Sword says more than 50% of houses in the U.S. were built before 1980 and 55% of homeowners reported renovating a part of their home in the past year. With renovation projects underway, she says kitchen renovations and bathroom remodeling are the most popular home improvement projects! Additionally in 2024, more homeowners are making sustainability a top priority and are using green materials and energy-saving appliances as a key focus to create homes that are not just stylish but also mindful of the environment.

To begin your renovations, Sword encourages you to make a plan for what you want done and keep your budget in mind. With potential contractors, ask friends and family who they’ve used in the past and do face-to-face interviews to make sure you’re hiring someone you trust.

● Get estimates from three different remodelers that include materials and service costs. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid. If one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.

● Check out credentials. Hire a contractor who is licensed, bonded and insured as appropriate. Determine if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.

● Ask questions. For instance, ask for references and call them to ask about their experience. Ask how much work will be subcontracted and ask for information on the subcontractors. Ask about the permits needed and who will get them. If a contractor avoids pulling the permits himself, it’s a red flag.

● Review all sample materials to make sure you like them before they’re installed. 

● Get everything in writing. Be sure you have a contract that includes time, cost, payment arrangements, your contractor’s license number, a description of the project, as well as names of parties involved in case of any disputes. Keep this after the project is complete. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask questions if you do not understand any part of it. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract.

● Be cautious making payments. Never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay your contractor in cash. Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if problems develop. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment is made.

For more information and tools from the BBB, click here or watch the segment above!

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