Ocean City Today

Important to be aware of home project scams

Real Estate Report
By Lauren Bunting | Jun 29, 2017

(June 30, 2017) Realtor.com recently reported that home improvement projects present the biggest opportunity for scammers to take advantage of homeowners, according to the Better Business Bureau’s Risk Index.

Victims of home improvement scams lost an average of $1,400 from shady contractors, painters, and other repairmen, according to the BBB’s analysis. The analysis found that such scams pose the highest risk to homeowners based on three criteria: exposure (how likely consumers are to be exposed to the scam), susceptibility (how likely they are to lose money), and monetary loss (how much money they stand to lose).

For example, victims may be conned out of money by receiving a lowball bid from a contractor who then later demands more money to finish the project. A contractor also may use someone else’s license to take money and leave without ever completing the project.

Realtor.com offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a home improvement scam:

• Verify the contractor’s license, insurance, and at least three references. In Maryland, this can be done by visiting: https://www.dllr.state.md.us

• Ensure the contractor is an active member of a reputable industry organization. Check to see if the contractor has national or local affiliations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or the Maryland Building Industry Association.

• Check the contractor’s reputation online. Verify that they have an active website, look for reviews and for social media presence. Getting a personal reference is always helpful.

–Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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