What You Should Know Before You Hire A Home Improvement Contractor (Part II)

In my previous post: “What You Should Know Before You Hire A Home Improvement Contractor,” I gave some tips on how to select the right Contractor for your project. Do not become the next victim.

Prior to hiring a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC), make sure to call the department or municipality that licensed that Contractor or business. I encourage you to call the Better Business Bureau also to see if that Contractor have or had any complaints. If you had a free estimate or quote from a Home Improvement Salesman (HIS) representing a Contractor or business, make sure that he or she is also licensed by calling the department or Municipality that licensed that business. Ask for identification such as a driver’s license and HIC/HIS license with a picture. If they don’t have a driver’s license or any kind of picture ID, it is very likely that they are bogus, and you should refrain from letting them in your home.

If you were offered financing through a Bank or a third party lender that the Home Improvement Company recommended, make sure you do not sign or execute any blank documents. Some HIC/HIS may ask you to fill out a credit application so they can check your credit profile to see if you are qualified for a home improvement loan. Keep in mind that such check will show up on your credit report as an inquiry which may lower your credit score. However, if you were advised that you were approved for such loan, make sure you thoroughly read the Retail Installment Obligation. Look at what interest rate you were assigned or charged, the monthly payment, amount of months, and most importantly, the total amount of payment. The total amount of payment is the amount you financed plus the interest added over the months or duration of the loan. You may also want to ask the HIC/HIS if there are any prepayment penalties or whether the loan will be recorded as a second mortgage to your property.

If you are a Veteran or a member of a Credit Union, you may be entitled to a much lower interest rate. Shop around with your banks before you jump for a home improvement loan. Know your rights as a consumer and invoke them accordingly. You have the right to be selective. Let no one pressure or strong arm you into signing a contract. Always take time out to think about it, discuss it with family members, or consult your attorney prior to executing a contract, which you may be bound by once you signed or executed such. In most cases, after the third business day elapsed, if you didn’t cancel, there is a valid and enforceable contract.