Scammers know you’ll spend money to improve your home. Be sure you know how to protect yourself, and you should familiarize yourself with common home improvement issues.


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Door-to-Door Sales

Be cautious when a salesperson appears at your door uninvited. Not all door-to-door contractors are scammers — but many scammers do work from door to door. Home improvement scams often flourish in the wake of disasters, especially violent storms such as hurricanes and tornados. Some legitimate repair specialists may work door to door in these circumstances, but so do con artists.

Learn more about Natural Emergency Scams and Door to Door Sales Scams.

Choosing a Contractor

Take time to choose the person who will work on your home. It is a good idea to choose a contractor with an established physical address. You should be sure you can find anyone who has done work on your house, in case problems arise.

The best policy is to get bids from more than one person for any work you are going to have done on your house. Get the bids in writing, and look for detail about exactly what will be done. Depending on the nature of the work, you may wish to specify the kinds (grade or thickness) of materials that will be used.

Beware of the “low-ball” bidder whose price is much lower than everyone else’s. Question the quality of the materials that will be used and the work that will be done. A very low bidder may not plan to include all the specific tasks you might expect, may use very cheap, inexperienced labor, or second-rate materials. Most of the legitimate bids will fall into a fairly close range.

Seek references. Ask to speak to satisfied customers, and ask them if you can visit their homes to inspect the work done by a contractor you are seriously considering. If you are hiring the kind of worker who must be licensed by the state (such as an electrician), contact the licensing agency to check the person’s credentials and inquire about complaints.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is a state regulatory agency that currently oversees over twenty types of businesses, industries, trades and occupations. The agency is responsible for issuing licenses, conducting inspections, investigating complaints, assessing penalties, setting rules and standards and holding hearings.

Verify any claims the contractor makes about energy savings or increased security, home value, or other added advantages to the improvements you are buying.

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