How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

When it comes to home construction, there are thousands of general contractors to choose from. The best way to narrow down the reputable contractors from the not-so-reputable ones is to do your research, ask the right questions, demand proof of credentials, and choose a contractor that works specifically in the field you need. For example, if you need roof replacement, choose a licensed roofing contractor rather than a home remodeling contractor. A vague job description can mean they specialize in a wide array of construction projects. Instead, you want a contractor who operates their business with an acute focus on roof repair and replacement.

One of the biggest problems in the home construction industry are contractor scams. It is critical to always beware of sneaky home improvement scams because they are very common. They can easily cost a homeowner thousands of dollars if they fall victim to the dishonesties. Fortunately, anyone can avoid becoming a victim of home improvement scams with the proper knowledge and attitude. Continue reading to learn some important information about identifying these kinds of scams, protecting yourself from false loans, and who to turn to if you have a bad experience with an unethical contractor.

Signs That a Contractor is Trying to Swindle You:

– They knock door-to-door and offer their business.

– They come to your door and offer you discounts for referring other clients.

– They tell you they can give you a deal because they happen to have excess materials leftover from another job.

– They give ultimatums or pressure you into making an immediate decision.

– They only accept cash payments and/or request that you pay all fees upfront.

– They know a lender and recommend that you borrow money from them.

– They tell you to get the required building permits for the work.

– They tell you that your property’s work is going to be a “demonstration.”

– They offer a lifetime warranty or improbable long-term guarantee.

– You cannot find their business number or name listed in any local directories.

Even just one of these signs is an indication that you are not working with a responsible or experienced contractor. Furthermore, you must beware of a similar scam with loans. Home improvement loan cons are just as common and detrimental. This can lead to you unknowingly signing a home equity loan with incredibly high interest rates, points, and fees. And since the contractor has already been paid by this loan, they can lose interest in the work and fail to do a good job; or worse, not complete the work at all.

How to Report a Bad Experience

If you have a bad experience like this with a contractor, first try to work it out with them. After any phone conversations, mail a certified letter to them, and in it, request a receipt. Then keep copies of all records. This paper trail is your record that the company or contractor received your letter. If this does not work, you still have other options.

You can to report them to certain industry organizations, and possibly earn some sort of recompense. This includes the state attorney general, the local consumer protection office, the local home builders association, the local media’s “call for action” lines, and various dispute resolution programs in your town.

Home Based Business Opportunities – What Are Their Advantages?

Starting a home based business enterprise is much rewarding. By starting such an enterprise, the owner of the business has full control of the business and enjoys the benefits of being his/her own boss. A home based business enterprise allows the owner to explore his/her full potentials. Rather than looking for formal employments where you assist someone else to realize his/her dreams, starting a home based business will help you to focus on your own dreams and help you achieve your financial freedom faster.

Turning home based business opportunities into reality may be a daunting task for many as it involves resource mobilization. It starts with the idea generation, which is hard for many. Starting a business opportunity also requires one to work hard. It needs the owner to work extra hours so as to make the idea a reality. Entrepreneurs must also be smart in mind; they employ both mental and physical efforts in the business.

However, the entrepreneurs should be able to foresee the benefits behind the hard tasks as it has more rewards. For a determined entrepreneur, starting home based business enterprise is the easiest. The entrepreneur enjoys cheap labor from family members who he may not pay for sometimes. He can also use the family resources to start the business, which reduces business expenses. The government does not charge tax on home based business enterprises; the business owner is relieved from the cost of commuting, there are flexible working hours and the owner enjoys the satisfaction of being his/her own boss.

Exploring home based business opportunities and turning them into realities creates employment opportunities. This reduces the global problem of unemployment. The jobless citizens come and secure jobs in the business. When employment opportunities are available, people are able to earn a living, which improves their living standards. The employment opportunities created by these businesses also increases the Gross Domestic product of the concerned countries, which finally improves the global economies.

The home based business enterprises lead to development of urban centers. People move to the business enterprises in search of employment opportunities, in the process they interact and socialize. They then start to invest in other business opportunities around the place. The fact that different people from different social backgrounds interact, leads to exchange of business ideas and technologies that are important for economic development. The interaction of various people from different backgrounds also leads to civilization and modernization.

Home based business enterprises provide avenues for the owners to make extra cash. The owner can operate them along other economic activities. This is because the owner can hire cheap services and labor from the family members who he/she can employ to attend to the business while on other duties.

Once a home based business enterprise has been set-up, it can improve its image in the market through the process of affiliate marketing. This is where the business owner for having brought a new customer into the business rewards an individual or customer of the business. Given that most modern businesses operate online, the owner of such businesses can design an ecommerce website for the enterprise to reach many clients and increase the sales volume.

Garden Furniture and Decking – Best Uses For Wood in Your Outdoor Living Areas

Every home is different. From the interior to the exterior, your house is unique. The surrounding landscape changes from property to property as well, with distinct grades and garden features in each garden.

Wooden decking is a great choice for any garden, no matter what the situation and design.

One of the major advantages of wooden decking over stone patios is the ability to build on sloping ground. Using posts and framing, you can create a level surface for your deck over top of even the steepest slope. While stone or bricks need to be installed on even, level ground that usually requires excavation, wooden decking can transform sloping areas into flat, easily accessible living spaces.

Treated wood is an excellent building material for use beside ponds and water features. Build a walkway around the water or a bridge over top to help you admire the entire setting. The pressure treatment actually penetrates the wood, providing a high level of protection even when the lumber is directly exposed to moisture.

Choose treated hardwood whenever possible for projects built close to or in water. Wood such as western red cedar has a natural resistance to rot, but isn’t the best choice in this case. And treated softwood doesn’t have quite the same level of strength that hardwood does.

If you have a drain in your garden or another area that requires access, wood decking can be easily adapted to suit those needs. Hinged doors built right into the deck surface allow simple access at any time. For added storage, consider building hinged-top benches along your deck as well, creating an out of the way spot for all of your outdoor items.

Wooden decking is a great choice for rooftop surfaces as well, giving you a place to get out of the rain and creating more living space for you. It’s best to consult with a professional contractor and possibly a structural engineer to determine whether the existing walls and framing underneath are suited for your deck. More support may be needed and certain designs might work best. Having a qualified expert assess the situation will result in the strongest finished project for you.

Flower beds can be planted around your decking and even on the deck with wooden planter boxes. Wood decking can be installed around trees and shrubs as well, making it blend in well with any vegetation in your garden.

No matter what the lay of your land is, wooden decking is an excellent choice providing an adaptable, easy to install and attractive surface to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Large or small, a wooden deck will be a valuable addition to your home and garden.

Garden Furniture – Great For the Outdoors

Garden furniture sets often include everything you need to comfortably lounge on your patio, deck, or among the flowers of your garden. Buying pieces separately often ends in only having a table and a couple of chairs, but if the whole set is purchased at once you will have saved money as opposed to buying everything separately and you will have the whole set to enjoy.

Outdoor furniture is something that many homeowners have difficulty choosing. There are plenty of garden furniture sets that are black or white and made of plastic or wrought iron, but there are also styles that span far past that. Choosing the right one can be difficult, because the set should set the mood of the yard, patio, or deck, and it should not clash with the color of the home.

What garden furniture sets often include are the table and chairs, as well as either an outdoor area rug, a smaller extra table, or an umbrella. What the set will include will vastly vary, though they all essentially include the main table and chairs. The more in a set, the more it will cost; and the better-made the furniture, the more it will cost. This is something else that puts a lot of homeowners shopping for outdoor furniture in a tough spot — there are too many choices, and the cheapest ones look the same as they cost.

The plastic furniture is often the cheapest and can often be found at large department stores as well as home improvement stores. These will usually run a couple of hundred dollars, but they will also likely not last as long as the other types. The bonus to these is that they are usually very resilient to the elements, so sun, wind, and rain will not damage them.

Wood is a popular material for patio or garden furniture because it just fits well with the setting. The biggest downside to furniture made of wood is the cost: a full set containing furniture made entirely of wood is going to cost hundreds of dollars more than one made of plastic. It is not uncommon to come across sets that cost $700 or $800, depending on the size of the set and the type of the wood.

The sets that are made of steel or metal can be attractive, and in some cases painted, but they can be doomed to rust. Regular maintenance is needed on this type of furniture, but the price is often the mid-point between plastic and wooden styles.

There are several factors at homeowner looking at garden furniture sets to pay attention to, from the durability, size, and price. This can make deciding difficult, but the end result will be a set of furniture to lounge on and enjoy during the warmer months of the year.