SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia’s attorney general is once again warning you to be smart when it comes to making home repairs. Storm damage is possible as we get into the peak of hurricane season and so too are people looking to scam you out of money.
The biggest thing if you find yourself needing repairs done is to not rush into any decision. Slowing down and doing some homework can save you a lot of trouble. Making repairs is something a lot of people in our area have done over the past few years. We all find ourselves asking, where do you start?
First, always ask for referrals. When you find someone, check their licenses. Next, get bids from more than one person for the project. Once you settle on a company, insist on a written contract.
“A contract should be very specific, and it should have a lot of detail in it so the homeowner knows exactly what they’re getting,” Michael Koncul, a homebuilder, said.
Koncul has been building and repairing homes for more than 30 years. A written contract with an agreed upon price can save you some big headaches.
The next place people find themselves in trouble is the payment process. Koncul says you should typically make a 10 percent down payment and then pay as you go.
”We’ll never ask for like 50 percent up front. It’s going to be stretched out over the length of the job according to what’s completed,” Koncul said.
Georgia’s attorney general also has tips on his website. These are things that can save you money, heartache, and from being stuck with an incomplete project. The biggest is to never pay the whole cost up front. These aren’t time-consuming tasks.
“Maybe [it’s] one pause. Take a deep breath; take the information in. Look at it and make sure it’s legitimate,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said.
Unfortunately, Carr said people who get ripped off don’t speak up enough. You should always call his office and your local police department or sheriff’s office if it happens to you though.
“The goal is to stop it, to limit it, and to get any money back or make them whole for whatever may have happened,” Carr said. “Pick up the phone, call our office, call local law enforcement. Don’t not do anything. Don’t just sit on it.
Koncul doesn’t like going behind contractors who walk off jobs. Taking these steps can make sure he or another builder doesn’t have to. Another important piece of advice when you go get bids, Koncul said you should always throw out an extremely low bid. He says that’s an immediate red flag.