If your house has been damaged by a natural disaster – flood, fire, tsunami, or earthquake – you will need to look for a reputable contractor to help with repair and restoration.
Inevitably, the demand for qualified contractors after a disaster usually exceeds the supply. As a result, some consumers find that they have hired part-time contractors, who may not get the job done in a reasonable time; inexperienced contractors, who may not do the job well; or dishonest contractors, who are seizing the opportunity to make quick money.
Understandably, anxious homeowners and landlords are eager to get their property back in shape.
Here are some precautions to take in the rebuilding process:
Contact your local authority to find out what steps you need to take to submit plans for rebuilding your home and to get a building permit.
Your insurance adjuster may recommend reputable contractors to do the repairs.
Deal only with licensed and insured contractors.
Take your time about signing a contract. Ask for a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made.
Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job up front.
Remember that damage to water, sewer, power or natural gas installations inside the house must be repaired under permit and inspected by the appropriate agency.