Building a Home
Consider these tips when you are dealing with builders and contractors:
- Check out your builder before you sign a contract. Ask to see your builder’s insurance policies and write down the insurance company and policy number. Be suspicious of any builder who asks you to take out the building permits and arrange for city or county inspections yourself. This could be a sign that the contractor isn’t licensed. To check the status of a General Contractor's license, call (919)-571-4183 or go online.
- Research materials like roofing and wall cladding products the contractor proposes to install on your home. Find out the pros and cons of materials they plan to use.
- Follow the construction project closely. Bring problems to the attention of your contractor as soon as they happen. Consider hiring a home inspector or other construction expert to help you spot and fix problems during construction and before closing.
- Make a punch list. If you notice problems in the days before closing, put them on a punch list of items to be fixed by the builder. Make sure the list includes a deadline for the work to get done. If the punch list is long, consider an agreement with the builder allowing you to withhold some the final payment until the work is finished.
Improving Your Home
If you plan to fix up your home, make sure you hire a contractor who is qualified to do the work. Here are some tips:
- Shop around for a contractor. Get recommendations from friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had work done on their homes recently. Avoid contractors who knock on your door or leave flyers on your door or mailbox.
- Get at least three written estimates for the work you want done.
- Check out the contractor before you hire. Go online (or call) to check the license held by your Electrician (919-733-9042), Plumber/HVAC installer (919-875-3612) or General Contractor (919-571-4183.) You can also check the contractor's complaint history with your local Better Business Bureau or with NC Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM, toll-free in North Carolina.
- Get a written contract detailing all the work to be done. Make sure it spells out the quality of materials to be used, the total price for labor and materials, any warranties or guarantees. It should also include the start and finish dates, and who will be responsible for clean-up and trash removal.
- Ask to see the contractor’s insurance policy or bond and then contact the insurance company to verify coverage, especially for roofing, painting or tree removal services.
- Don’t pay large fees in advance. If a small contractor claims to need a lot of money in advance for supplies and materials, it may be a sign that he has poor credit or is in bad financial shape. If you wish to do business with such a contractor, buy the supplies and materials yourself and pay for the labor once the project is finished.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint about home construction or home improvement contact us
for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.