Prevention Tips

• Deal only with local trades people recommended by friends or reputable building supply stores.

• Consider arranging remodeling work through a large store like Sears or Lowes, so that you can hold someone accountable should the work be done in an improper manner.

• Get at least two estimates for the same work from two different contractors.

• Get references for the contractor and speak to those references about satisfaction and any problems that arose.

• Take a look at other work performed by the same contractor.

• Get a written contract describing explicit specifications of the work, the price (including details of any financing or credit terms), the responsibility for cleaning up and the hourly rate for any added work.

• Demand that guarantees and other promises are made in writing.

• If the written documents are different from oral promises, do not sign them.

• Do not allow a contractor to begin work until financial arrangements to pay for the work are complete.

• Never endorse the check over to the contractor before all work is satisfactorily completed.

• Do not consolidate other debts with a home improvement loan.

• If problems with a contractor or home improvement lender arise, get help from an experienced consumer attorney and begin pursuing your construction defect litigation.