home improvements

How to Avoid Scams when Doing Home Improvements

Anthea Personal Property Insurance

Remodels and other home improvements are an important part of being a property owner. When done correctly, these projects can add value to a home and make it more attractive to future buyers.

Unfortunately, hiring a contractor to complete home improvement projects is not always simple. The average homeowner is often unaware of the average cost of materials and labour. What’s more, construction projects can be stressful, and it’s common for individuals to rush when choosing a construction firm just to get a job done faster.

As a result, homeowners are an easy target for contractor fraud, which is when a firm performs substandard repairs or offers services that deliberately cheat another party.

5 Keys to Finding the Right Contractor

To avoid contractor fraud and ensure that your home improvements are done to a high standard, look out for the following:

  1. Contractors that contact you looking for work
  2. Unsolicited, free home inspections that turn up problems you were previously unaware of
  3. Contractors that want you to commit to repairs immediately
  4. Contractors that request money in advance
  5. Contractors that do not get the right permits or want to sell extra materials to you for a cheap price

5 Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Contractor

When choosing a contractor, obtain as many references as you can and be diligent about researching reputable firms. If you are the victim of contractor fraud, you can report it to your local police department or notify services like the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Following these steps will help you avoid these 5 mistakes many home owners make:

Thinking Beyond Hiring a Contractor: The Value of Working with an Architect

In addition to hiring the right contractor, there are other professionals you’ll want on your team when undertaking any major home improvements, one of the most important being a qualified architect.

While your contractor will handle much of the hands-on construction work associated with your project, an architect can offer many other benefits and much value beyond that of your contractor. Your architect can:

  • Help you define the scope of work
  • Provide references for top contractors and tradespeople
  • Advise you with regards to appropriate contact terms, payments, and deposits
  • Provide payment certification
  • Outline a schedule of values
  • Conduct research into holdbacks, liens, etc.
  • Offer licensing and insurance assistance

Here is a detailed guide outlining how you can find the right architect for your building project.