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Bad Contractor Warning Signs to Look Out for When Renovating a Golf Home

Bad contractor stories abound in the news. Victims who fall prey to a bad contractor largely tell the same story--they thought they were getting a good deal by an experienced individual or team. Instead, all they got was the bad contractor blues, having to hire someone else to clean up what the bad contractor left behind.

From the most simple home improvement project to entire remodels or new construction, being taken by a bad contractor certainly is emotionally and monetarily devastating. Unfortunately, it's a risk many consumers take but don't even have to--just a little due-diligence and they would have found a tried-and-true professional who really delivered.

The Toll of Hiring a Bad Contractor

It's not just about broken promises. Like missing deadlines, though some who've hired a bad contractor wish that would be all they had to deal with. Hiring a bad contractor can certainly mean a lot more. There's not only missing deadlines, it can mean leaving a job unfinished and not having proper permits. Or, a complex, nerve-racking, entangled lawsuit.

In an ideal world, hiring a contractor would be easy. You’d just choose the first name that popped up on Google, get an affordable quote, and have a stunning new kitchen remodel or garage renovation in no time. Unfortunately, this is the real world, where things don’t always go according to plan. While most contractors do good work in exchange for a fair asking price, not all of them can be trusted. And it only takes one brush with a bad apple to put you out thousands of dollars. -- Better Business Bureau.org

Homeowners handing over the reins to bad contractors could be on the hook for hefty fees and penalties if the work was done without the right permits. Or, having to completely redo what was done, because it contained shoddy materials and/or substandard work. In some cases, it can come down to being extorted, the contractor threatening to file a lien if payment isn't made, regardless of the quality of work. And, even if the homeowner is in the right, it means paying a boatload in legal fees to an attorney.

Bad Contractor Warning Signs

If you need to find a quality contractor, you really can't be too cautious or prepared. After all, it's your home and your money on the line. For those who want to be in the know, here's the most telling signs of a bad contractor to look for:

  1. No license and/or lack of coverage. States regulate this trade and part of that licensing is demonstrating competency. It also requires certain insurance and/or bonding to practice legally. So, be sure to ask for official documentation and don't shy away. A good contractor will readily provide ample proof. Conversely, someone with something to hide will dodge or make excuses.
  2. Really low bid. Everyone likes to find a good deal but the old adage of about being "too good to be true" certainly applies to spotting a bad contractor. Materials and labor will vary somewhat from bid to bid, but there won't be a huge disparity.
  3. Lack of or insufficient references. No references is a big red flag. And someone who only gives vague references or provides references that can't be checked might be a bad contractor.
  4. Inclination to avoid getting permits. Okay, so no one relishes having to deal with bureaucracies, but bad contractors will go out of their way to keep from pulling permits. It can mean the company isn't licensed and insured or might be operating on a shoestring budget. The bad news is the homeowner will be liable for any work done without permits.
  5. Skipping written contracts. Legitimate contractors are big on written contracts because they are true professionals and want a guarantee the homeowner will pay as agreed. It's also the root word to "contractor", which is "contract."
  6. Big deposit requests. Big deposit requests are a big red flag of a bad contractor. The industry standard averages about 30 to 33 percent. A bad contractor might demand much more upfront and that could mean a rob Peter to pay Paul scenario--using payments from one customer to buy materials for another customer's job.
  7. Excess materials. A bad contractor is surely an incompetent contractor if ordering more than the job requires. The question if not incompetent then becomes why. Perhaps to get a discount and spread those excesses over several jobs.

Of course, other signs of a bad contractor is someone using scare tactics and/or being late or absent. Or, they don’t have a readily available local business location. (Although most contractors work out of their vehicles but maintain a professional office.)

If you are considering renovating your golf home to sell, contact me for more advice about what to expect with the process. Plus, get help to navigate the entire process from beginning to end.

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Dennis Boyle, The Golf Home Pro

941-400-5584

Info@SuncoastGolfHomes.com

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