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5 Home Renovation Scams to Avoid

Is your contractor asking for his fees in cash? Is he asking for a wire transfer right away? Is he avoiding signing a contract? These are some preliminary signs to look for if you are concerned about being taken advantage of when trying to renovate your home. In fact, home renovation scams happen all the time. When it comes to home renovation, there seems to be scammers just around every corner. However, if you know exactly what to look out for, you should be able to avoid being taken advantage of. Here are five home renovation scams.

  1. The roofing scam. These scams happen all the time. Contractors usually do a really great sales pitch that promises to fix a homeowner’s roof and then offers a price that is just too good to pass up. Unfortunately, the homeowner usually gets exactly what they paid for: a roof that is not sturdy and is made out of subpar materials. Many homeowners fall for this scam during the winter when the heavy rains and snows are about to hit. While you expect that your amazing affordable new roof will stand up to the elements, it ends up leaking and causing all sorts of problems. So, make sure not to fall into this trap.
  2. The driveway scam. This is another common scam, because who couldn’t use a newly paved driveway? This scam usually involves a contractor showing up to your house and saying that his team has some surplus material left over from a previous job and that he can repave your driveway for pennies on the dollar. Why wouldn’t you want a newly paved driveway? Well, usually because these people are scammers – they will pave your driveway with materials that in a few weeks will dry up, crack and cost you a fortune to fix.
  3. The chimney scam. This is another common scam, especially in the winter. Basically, a contractor contacts you and says that his team can clean your chimney for a rock bottom price. You think: sure, why not? However, after the team gets to work, the contractor tells you that you need some serious structural work done on your chimney or the whole thing could fall on your house. They might even remove a few bricks and show you where the damages are. Chances are you need to have a second opinion and maybe call the authorities.
  4. The energy audit scam. This is a scam that can promise homeowners better air quality and lower monthly utility bills. Basically, you pay a contractor and team to do a full energy audit of your home and then they come around to tell you that you need a lot of work done to your house if you want to be more energy efficient. Most of the time, these claims are bogus. You might benefit more from getting a few air purifying plants, maintaining your HVAC system and sealing up energy leaks – all things you can do yourself.
  5. The home security scam. This is a scam that targets homeowners worried about home security. The scam basically entails someone coming to your door with a pitch that they can hook up a home security system for a much more affordable rate. You agree, they install it, but then your home security system doesn’t work and the contractor is nowhere to be found. To avoid this scam, never accept unsolicited offers from door-to-door alarm system sellers.
 
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