When preparing a home for sale or making improvements to your new home it is very important to protect yourself from unscrupulous contractors. There is nothing worse than getting shotty work or getting ripped off all together.
Here are 10 tips to help ensure that you don’t get ripped off when hiring a contractor.
1. Make sure that the contractor you are considering has a California State Contractors Liscense. You can check a contractors license status at California State Lic Board  or calling 800-321-2752. You will need the contractors name or Lic. number.
2. Ask if the contractor carries liability insurance and if he uses employees ask if he/she has a workers compensation policy.
3. Get references and call them.
4. Get 3 bids and make sure the same scope of work is being performed.
5. Get a written contract and don’t sign anything until you completely understand the terms.
6. Never give more than 10% or $1000 (which ever is less) as a deposit.
7. Don’t let your progress payments get ahead of the work performed.
8. Don’t pay cash and keep proof of all payments made.
9. Don’t make a final payment until you are satisfied with the job.
10. Keep a file of all papers relating to your project. This will help you if down the road a mechanics lien has been recorded and you need to prove it was done in error.
There are no guarantees but adhering to a few basic principals will help ensure that you keep from getting involved with a contractor who may leave you without your money or a properly completed project.
Brian Santilena, Sr. Sales Associate and top real estate agent with Pacific Union Real Estate, representing home buyers and home sellers in the Oakland Hills, Berkeley Hills and Piedmont California marketplace since 1998. He is a Realtor, Certified Residential Specialist(CRS) and is highly knowledgeable in real estate for sale in the Oakland Hills premier neighborhoods such as Haddon Hill, Rockridge, Montclair, Glenview, Trestle Glen, Crocker Highlands, Oakmore, Laurel District and Redwood Heights. Berkeley Hills neighborhoods such as Northbrea, Westbrea, North Berkeley Hills, Berkeley Flats, Thousand Oaks, South Berkeley, Gourmet Ghetto, Elmwood, Uplands, Claremont, LeConte. City of Piedmont, City of Kensington, City of Albany. Please feel free to CONTACT BRIAN if you have any real estate needs in Oakland, Berkeley or Piedmont CA.