Local News

Slow down and commit with care to home repairs

Posted October 17, 2016 6:21 p.m. EDT

Everyday more people flooded out of their homes by Hurricane Matthew are returning to assess the damage and schedule repairs.

5 On Your Side has a word of warning for those overwhelmed by the job ahead: Check out contractors before you sign anything.

Whatever the need – from floor-to-ceiling redo to clearing downed trees – after a natural disaster, scammers are sure to follow.

Companies take advantage of people who are desperate, people who want something fixed now and people who may, in their haste, not be careful who they hire.

  • Make sure anyone you hire is licensed and has a permanent street address.
  • Check out general contractors with the North Carolina Licensing Board.
  • Verify business licenses with the Secretary of State.
  • Ask for references and call them.
  • Check for complaints against the service provider on file with the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General.
  • Always get a written contract that spells out the work to be done and the costs.
  • Ask for written estimates to compare companies against each other to negotiate a fair price.
  • Verify that anyone you hire has insurance, or you could be liable for any accidents that happen on your property.
  • Never pay cash up front. It's safest to pay with a credit card when you can.
  • Check with your insurer to ascertain that any work will be covered.
  • Keep a file of before-and-after photos, estimates and contracts, warranties and other documents.