6 sleazy home improvement scams
time for less talk and more action.
Like most homeowners, you probably
spent the winter months talking about the
various home improvements you'd like to make.
Now that spring is here, it's time to act
on those remodeling impulses. After all, spring
is a time of renewal, change and new beginnings.
Unfortunately, it's also a time when crooked contractors come
out of the woodwork to prey on innocent homeowners. "Some are actual scam
artists, while others are just incompetent or unethical," says Ellis Levinson,
a consumer reporter and author of the book "Hiring Contractors Without Going
The good news is you can protect
yourself against these scams. In fact, many
scams are easy to detect if you take the time
to become an educated, savvy consumer. "Compare
prices, call references, and research the
project you're undertaking in advance,"
says Bruce Johnson, author of "50 Simple
Ways to Save your House." It seems simple
but many people find this process overwhelming.
Levinson calls it emotional
laziness. "It's amazing to me how much
time people will put into buying a TV because
it's fun. But when it comes to remodeling
a kitchen, people have no time. They see it
as drudgery," Levinson says. Ultimately,
he says, doing the research to protect yourself
is much easier than paying for the consequences.
To help you differentiate a
scam from the real deal, Bankrate has compiled
a list of the most common remodeling scams.
Beware of the following key phrases, and remember,
if it sounds too good to be true, it probably
|Key phrases to beware of:|
just happen to be working in your neighborhood."
You'll hear this when contractors appear at
your home unsolicited to inform you they noticed
some problems with your home's (insert: chimney,
driveway, windows, plumbing, etc.) while working
on a neighboring home. For example, the contractor
might say he or she was on the roof of your
neighbor's home and noticed missing shingles
on your roof. This may be the case -- but
often no repair is needed.