Now that Rita has come and gone it's time to fix the damage that's been done. One of the first mistakes people make is rushing into a decision. "Sometimes that urgency can be a very bad thing," says Kay Robinson, President of the Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas. Which brings us to tip number one: check a contractor's credentials to make sure they have a solid business history. "If they're local certainly the BBB should have a reliability report on the company. If they're not local we could still access that information through our network of bureaus throughout the country," says Robinson. "Most contractors in our region of East Texas are registered with the [Tyler Area Builders Association]," says Scott Greene, President of Boulevard Homes. Greene says contractors have to meet certain standards and practices before they become members of the T.A.B.A. Once you've hammered that down Greene offers the next tips: Get several estimates from licensed and bonded contractors and always get a contract in writing. "After the fact if there's ever a dispute they could never agree on exactly what was said, or exactly what was done," says Greene about contract disputes. The next tip is crucial and a commonly made mistake, avoid paying money up front. "That is absolutely a no-no do not do that!," says Robinson. "You're just asking for trouble you're asking for them not to come back, if they are that type of contractor." Avoid signing insurance settlement checks to contractors, until you know the job has been done right. "Some of these contractors are very good sales people, they make it seem like they have your best interest in heart," says Robinson. The most important advice is to use your common sense as you rebuild your storm damaged home, so you aren't labeled a victim again.
Scott Greene also tells us any repair of your home of $20,000 or more must be registered with the Texas Residential Construction Commission. The state agency acts as the mediator to resolve a dispute you have with a contractor.
Christine Nelson, reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org