A natural disaster destroying your home is unimaginably difficult. It’s overwhelming and heart-wrenching. What could be worse? People taking advantage of you when you’re the most vulnerable.
As homes are cleared of debris and the last bit of silt left from flood water is scrubbed clean, you may be considering various contractors available for the work you need completed. There are many reputable businesses in our area ready and willing to take on the work, but first consider the information below before signing a contract with anyone.
Be wary of con artists who may solicit services door-to-door. Contractors with great reputations often come with high ratings or reviews from friends, so ask around before agreeing to do business with someone who approaches your home.
Insurance companies often suggest contractors, but you are the one in control of hiring. Look for a licensed reconstruction contractor instead of a new home builder or general contractor. While any licensed contractor can properly renovate your home, someone familiar in reconstruction projects is likely more experienced in dealing with insurance companies and may be able to speed up the process of getting payments approved.
While you may be tempted to start work right away, get several estimates in writing. Since contractors must visit your home to assess the work that needs to be completed, it’s a great time to evaluate their professionalism and experience.
Check to see if the company is bonded and insured, confirming the expiration date falls after your project should be completed, and ask about any subcontractors that might be used since they’ll also need their own licenses and insurance.
Be cautious of anyone who offers fast, cheap work. If the prices are drastically different from various contractors, don’t immediately choose the one offering to do the work for the lowest price. Ask questions about the materials they’ll use or the number of workers on your project to ensure you remain a priority.
Verify the timeline with your selected contractor so there are no surprises about when they may be able to start. After a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, highly regarded contractors will book up quickly. But having quality workmanship will be worth the wait in the long run.
Read the contract thoroughly before signing and don’t make any assumptions about construction jargon or any of the language used. The payment installment should be detailed in the contract, and contractors typically ask for 20-30% down before work begins. Walk away if anyone requires more.
Avoid paying in cash. Use a credit card or check and keep all receipts so you have proof of payment along the way. Do not pay the final installment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
Choosing a contractor can be challenging, but the work upfront to hire someone reliable will prevent added stress to a situation that is already difficult.
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Harris County Precinct 4
1001 Preston, Suite 950
Houston, Texas 77002