STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Your home may be your most valuable financial asset. That’s why it’s important to be cautious when you hire someone to work on it. Home improvement and repair and maintenance contractors often advertise in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, and on the radio and TV. However, don’t consider an ad an indication of the quality of a contractor’s work. Your best bet is a reality check from those in the know: friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement work done. Get written estimates from several firms. Ask for explanations for price variations. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you may choose to work with a number of different professionals:
- General Contractors manage all aspects of your project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, and scheduling inspections. They also work with architects and designers.
- Specialty Contractors install particular products, such as cabinets and bathroom fixtures.
- Architects design homes, additions, and major renovations. If your project includes structural changes, you may want to hire an architect who specializes in home remodeling.
- Designers have expertise in specific areas of the home, such as kitchens and baths.
- Design/Build Contractors provide one-stop service. They see your project through from start to finish. Some firms have architects on staff; others use certified designers.
Not all contractors operate within the law. Here are some tip-offs to potential rip-offs. A less than reputable contractor:
- solicits door-to-door;
- offers you discounts for finding other customers;
- just happens to have materials left over from a previous job;
- only accepts cash payments;
- asks you to get the required building permits;
- does not list a business number in the local telephone directory;
- tells you your job will be a “demonstration;”
- pressures you for an immediate decision;
- offers exceptionally long guarantees;
- asks you to pay for the entire job up-front;
- suggests that you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows. If you’re not careful, you could lose your home through a home improvement loan scam.
About The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)
The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest not-for-profit trade association in Staten Island, N.Y.
SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically; and to promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.
Comprised of over 1,600 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.
SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Inc. (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 3,000 real estate transactions every year.
All SIBOR members belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
SIBOR may be reached at 718-979-0007 and viewed online at http://siborrealtors.com. SIBOR may also be visited on Facebook at “Staten Island Board of Realtors,” on Twitter via @SIBOR, and on YouTube at the Staten Island Board of Realtors and RelevantPR channels.
Media Contact: Barton Horowitz