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What to Look Out For
While most contractors are honest, hardworking people, there can be potential scams and rip-off artists. Beware of a contractor who:

  • Demands or only accepts cash
  • Is high pressure
  • Wants you to pay for everything up-front
  • Tries to influence where you get your renovation loan


  • Ask Questions
    Interviewing your potential contractor is the first step in making your decision on who to trust with your home renovation. Be sure to ask following questions:

  • What are your credentials?
  • Do you have a portfolio of previous projects?
  • Will I need permits for this project?
  • Do you have references?
  • Does this project require subcontractors?
  • How long will the project take to be completed?


  • As with most things, the lowest price isn't always the best value. Weigh your decision carefully when choosing your contractor. Consider a number of variables: price, experience, time frame, references. In the end, you want to choose the person who can do the highest quality work on your home with minimal headaches.

    Call the Better Business Bureau
    Just as important as checking customer references, place a call to your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if they have any information about the contractor you are considering. You'll want to find out the contractor's standing with the agency and if any complaints have been made against the company. You can contact the BBB at (703) 276-0100 or www.bbb.org.

    Review insurance coverage
    Worker's compensation and liability insurance are a must for any contractor. Ask to see a copy of the contractor's certificate of insurance and then call the carrier to guarantee that the insurance is still in place. Again, it may seem like a lot of work to do up front, but you'll rest assured that you're working with a reputable contractor.

    Work out a payment schedule
    Avoid any company that requires you to pay the full amount of the project before beginning work. Terms should be 10% or $1,000 whichever is less for a deposit; 80% upon completion of the work; and the remaining 10% when the job passes inspection.