Beware - "Contractor walks away with homeowner's money"

By Don

At Lone Star State Construction, we hear horror stories all the time from clients who were taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors. Here is a video story about a local San Antonio homeowner's experience:

http://news4sanantonio.com/news/local/contractor-walks-away-with-homeowner-money

Here are a few ways to keep from being ripped-off:

1. Chose NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Contractors. NARI holds its contractors to high ethical standards and educates them on best practices in the industry. Lone Star State Construction is a NARI contractor. For a list of reputable contractors goto the San Antonio NARI website at: http://www.remodelsanantonio.org

2. Utilize Angie's List: Angie's List is a subscription site $10-$15 per year - but well worth the money. Inside this site you can look up any contractor in San Antonio and find out what their past clients have said about them. They use an A-F rating scale in five categories. With this system it is easy to pick out great contractors and identify bad ones. Here is a link to Angie's List: Angie's List Website

3. Make sure to sign a contract with the contractor. If there is no contract, walk away.

4. Only make payments when milestones are complete. Make sure these payments are specified in the contract. Do not make payment until you are completely satisfied that the milestone is complete. Here is an example from one of our contract payment schedules:

A payment of $1100 will be paid to the Contractor on the start date. A payment of $1200 will be paid to the Contractor after the shower pan is installed. A payment of $1300 will be paid to the Contractor after tile is installed. A final payment of $322 will be paid to the contractor upon completion and once the Owner acknowledges all work has been satisfactorily completed.

5. Do some homework - if you do not want to pay to see your selected contractor's rating. Here are a few other sources that have free rating systems - they are not as comprehensive as Angie's List, but could signal red flags to you:

Houzz: Houzz Website

Google: Google+ Website

BBB: BBB Website

Guild Quality: Guild Quality Website

Rip-Off Report: Rip-Off Report Website

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