Tulsa Home Improvement Quiz
Pay attention. There will be a test.
Q#1: Do the most common Tulsa home repair scams involve roofing, gutter cleaning, driveway paving, furnace repair or all of the above?
Q#2: What is a sign of a less than reputable Tulsa contractor -- door-to-door solicitation, discounts for you for finding other customers, contractors who say they just happened to have materials left over from previous jobs, contractors who are unavailable by phone except for an answering machine, or all of the above?
Q#3: Your Tulsa contractor should carry what kind of insurance -- personal liability, worker's compensation, property damage or all of the above?
If you didn't answer "all of the above" to all of the questions above, you've got some homework to do.
However, now that you have answers to 3 of the 12 questions in the AARP's "Can You Stop a Home Repair Disaster?" passing the final exam will be a lot easier.
And once you ace the full test, getting a quality home improvement for your home will be a no-brainer.
The AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired People) and other consumer advocates says complaints about home improvements often top consumers complaint lists about the services they buy.
The Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau and others all say testing your knowledge about home improvements before you sign on the dotted line can go a long way to avoiding complaints that too often follow home improvement work.
To that end, AARP created a test you can take as a useful learning tool and it's a test you can't fail. If you select a wrong answer, your test results come with the correct answer.
In addition to the test question's list of home improvement scams, the AARP says other common scams involve chimneys, windows, electrical wiring, tree pruning, water treatment and pest extermination.
To find reputable contractors, along with avoiding those practices found in Question #2, AARP says to stay away from contractors who tell you that your job will be a "demonstration," contractors who pressure you for an immediate decision, and contractors who ask you to pay for the entire job up front.
As for Question #3, if Tulsa contractors don't carry all the insurance coverage listed, you could wind up paying not only for the work, but also for any injuries sustained on the job and damage to your home.
The exam also queries your knowledge about:
· Written contracts. Don't leave your home in the hands of a contractor without one that is detailed, spelling out the job, time, materials and other dimensions of the job.
· Pressure tactics. Reputable contractors won't pressure you to sign a contract. They know you need time to study the contract, get other estimates or talk to a trusted friend or relative.
· Licenses. Again, don't leave your home in the hands of a contractor unless they have one. Get several or more recommendations for licensed contractors not from the phone book but from family, friends, coworkers or others you trust who've recently experienced a satisfactory home improvement job. Also consider specialists depending upon the work you need completed.
· Mechanics' liens. Before your final payment, get proof the contractor has paid off all subcontractors or you could suffer a mechanics' lien that attaches your home to sub contractors' unpaid fees.
· Payments. Never pay for all the work before it is completed. Make your final payment only after the work is completed to your satisfaction. If you can't determine what is quality work, considering hiring a private home inspector to examine the improvement before you make the final payment.
· Home improvement loans. Home improvements can be a good use of your home's equity money, but if you don't repay the loan as agreed, your home is collateral and you could lose it to the lender who has a right to sell your home to use the proceeds to pay off the loan and any costs.
You now have sufficient information to pass AARP's test.
If you still miss some questions, AARP reveals the correct answer with your test results.