Lake Tahoe Real Estate Repair Scams2 years ago
It happens more often than you might think. A person in a building company's truck knocks on a homeowner's door. The person tells the home owner that they were driving by, and they noticed some serious damage to the shingles on the roof. Have they had their roof inspected lately? Are they aware that this could cause problems down the road? The contractor, it just so happens, has the equipment in his truck, and he would be glad to start work immediately for a down payment.
To anyone paying close attention, this already sounds like a scam.
But even if the home owner misses these first warning signs, he discovers it's a scam a few days later. That is, after he's paid up, and the contractor has disappeared without doing the work, or announced that it will cost twice as much as he thought and he needs more money before he can continue.
Home repair scams in and around Lake Tahoe are fairly common, experts say, and new homeowners and the elderly are particularly susceptible. It might seem shocking that anyone would hand money to a person off the street with no guarantees, but many inexperienced owners are panicked at the thought of home repair, and they will trust anyone in a tool belt who tells them there's a problem. No questions asked- unfortunately.
What is the simplest way to tell the difference between a legitimate home contractor and a scam artist? The main rule is, if they come looking for you, consider them suspect. Legitimate contractors are busy- running a real business- and they don't go knocking on doors for jobs, not even if your roof IS dangerously close to serious damage. If someone is knocking on doors and soliciting jobs, chances are they have more than enough time on their hands to do so, because they're not actually doing any of the jobs.
Of course, that doesn't mean just because you look a contractor up in the Lake Tahoe phone book, you're perfectly safe. Do your research. You're investing a lot into choosing your contractor, including your money, your time, and your home. Don't assume that just because a contractor holds a license in California or Nevada that they're a good one, either. Becoming a licensed contractor in either state is hardly more than a matter of paperwork, and scam artists can become licensed just as easily as anyone else.
The best way to find a good contract worker in the Lake Tahoe area is by asking for recommendations from neighbors, coworkers, or friends who have had good work done. Ask them if they would hire the person again and what kinds of problems they might have encountered. Check with the Better Business Bureau and any local business registry offices on your side of the Lake.
Home repair can be a scary and expensive process around Lake Tahoe. When you're faced with needed repairs, make sure you've got a professional on your side. It costs nothing to be careful, and it could save you a great deal.