In the aftermath of the recent storms that tore through central Alabama, home repair work is often necessary. Unfortunately, unscrupulous remodelers can take advantage of homeowners in need. There are several important factors to consider in hiring someone to perform repair or remodeling work on your home.
Following are some tips for finding qualified, reputable remodelers:
- Investigate the reputation and experience of the remodeler.
- Seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who have had remodeling work done.
- Check with your local Home Builders Association for names of remodeler members. Membership in the HBAA indicates a remodeler's commitment to professional customer service and quality construction.
- Check with your local or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau to find out if any unresolved complaints have been filed against the remodeler.
- Check with the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board to verify that the remodeler has the appropriate license (if required) and a clean record. The state homebuilders and remodelers license is required when the job is more than $10,000; however, consumers are encouraged to seek our licensees even when the repair job is less than $10,0000. The Home Builders Licensure Board has published its list of currently licensed residential homebuilders in Alabama on its website, www.hblb.state.al.us.
- Request copies of the remodeler's insurance certificates to verify that he or she carries insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries.
- Don’t compare apples to oranges – when evaluating bids from contractors, make sure they are based on identical project specifications.
- Be wary of a contractor who asks for a full payment before the job has begun -- a payment schedule should be part of your written agreement - and may be tied to benchmarks such as completing various phases of the job.
The attorney general’s office has established a hotline to take consumer complaints about home repair fraud. If you think that you have been the victim of home repair fraud, call (800) 392-5658.
To find out if a builder or remodeler is licensed, contact the Home Builders Licensure Board at (800) 304-0853. The Home Builders Association of Alabama has published a brochure, “Protect Yourself from Home Repair Fraud”, which is available free of charge to consumers. For a free copy, call the HBAA at (800) 745-4222 or email email@example.com.
Find more information about protecting and repairing your home from storm damage, visit the Disaster Resource section of the HBAA website, www.hbaa.org.