What don’t you know about your home-improvement contractor? | Irvine Real Estate | Irvine Homes for Sale

by Robert Mack on March 2, 2011

in Buyers, Latest News, Sellers

With the spring approaching, some homeowners are looking to hire a contractor to make improvements to their homes.

Before you choose someone to do the work, you can see whether the business has registered with the state as a home- improvement contractor.

Homeowners can protect themselves by making sure contractors are registered and, when required, have the necessary licensing for a specific task, such as electricians or plumbers. The information is available on the website of the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:

www.mass.gov/oca.

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The consumer affairs office says choosing a registered home-improvement contractor is the safe bet.

“When contractors register with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, they must make a contribution to the Guaranty Fund,” according to a question-and-answer page on the office’s website. “Consumers may be eligible for reimbursements through the fund should something go wrong during the construction process.”

By going to the website, you can confirm whether a contractor is appropriately registered.

There is a link near the top of the consumer affairs office home page that will take you to a registration search. You can search by registration number or name of the registrant.

You can also look up a contractor’s arbitration and Guaranty Fund history. The results will tell you whether the contractor has lost any arbitration cases since 1997 or has had any Guaranty Fund claims filed against his registration since 1993.

The consumers affairs office suggests homeowners also check with the Better Business Bureau and the state Attorney General’s office to see whether there are any complaints or judgments against the contractor. Also, check references.

If you need to file a complaint against a home-improvement contractor, you can download the complaint application form from the same website.

The home page also has links to information regarding licensed professionals, including how to look up licenses for housing-related professionals, ranging from architects to well drillers.

If you don’t want to search online, you can find contractor registration information by calling the consumer affairs office at 1 (888) 283-3757.

Before signing a contractor, the state recommends you get a detailed written estimate that includes price quotes for all special materials, installations and labor, and ask for proof the contractor carries insurance.

Make sure a contractor understands he must apply for and obtain a building permit if one is required, according to the consumer affairs office.

Posted on Irvine Orange County Real Estate Market News

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