7On your side: Building & remodeling - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Building and remodeling

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's cold and wet now, but before you know it, it will be spring and the time of year when many people do home improvements.

And when you find someone to paint your house or put on a new roof,  they may seem like your best buddy at first. But if you haven't thoroughly researched what you're doing and put the deal in writing, you could be headed for trouble.

If the crowd at this year's Home Show is any indication, lots of people in Southwest Louisiana plan to build or remodel in the coming months. Sharon Denson, who attended this weekend, went looking for someone to do work for her.

"Looking for homebuilders and I'm also looking for home repair," Denson said.

She discovered the Home Show is a good place to meet up with reputable, local companies.

"People that have helped me with blinds, doing shutters in my home, I have gotten a lot of help from people. Fencing," Denson said.

When looking for a contractor Carmen Million, president of the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Louisiana, said consumers planning work need to investigate.

"When you're thinking about having work done on your home, whether it's a small job or a large job, you definitely need to do investigation. You can contact the Better Business Bureau.  You can go to our web site, and you can get a list of companies to consider. What we recommend is that you get more than one bid. No matter how big or how small the job is you need to get at least three bids," Million said.

First of all, those who go door to door to drum up work are illegal.

"Somebody knocks on your door and they're trying to sell you something or they're trying to do work on your home, The best thing to do is not open the door and call local law enforcement," Million said.

And she said consumers should get multiple written bids that spell out what the contractor will do and the cost.

"No matter how big or how small the job is, you need to get at least three bids. One of the reasons you get a bid is because it allows you to know if the fee you're being charged is fair.  You should always ask the company for  five or ten names of people they've actually done work for. You can contact those people and see how satisfied they were and if they had any problems did the company make an effort to resolve it," Million said.

And she said don't sign the bid because it could be considered a written contract to perform the work.

"Also never pay up front or in full until the job is completed. You also want to make sure you do not pay the contractor in full until you've verified all materials and all subcontractors have been paid and that eliminates the possibility of a lien being placed against your home," Million said.

As well, it's a good idea to confirm the state, city or parish licensing and check the contractor's record with the Better Business Bureau. Also, ask the contractor for references and confirm they have workers comp coverage. 

For more tips and numbers to check for permits and licenses, click here.

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