Roofing scams target elderly homeowners
Storms leave behind a lot of damage in their wake. Even a good rain storm and some strong wind can cause damage to property such as your roof. Unfortunately, something else also follows in the wake of a big storm, roofing and construction scams. The individuals who run these scams know that after a storm, people (and especially the elderly) are the most vulnerable. Unable to get up and check on their roofs themselves, they're likely to believe the word of a “roofing professional” who comes knocking. As a result, many homeowners end up paying for work they don't need or for work that will never get done. Homeowners need to be on guard to protect themselves from these individuals.
The difference between a scammer and a professional
After a big storm, roofers tend to stay pretty busy patching leaks and replacing roofs. Most likely, they'll have no shortage of work for a while. It begs the question, why would a reputable roofer with plenty of work would go knocking on doors trying to drum up business? Of course not every single roofer that goes door-to-door is out to scam you, but it is a red flag.
Another major difference between scammers and reputable roofers is that roofers usually have the necessary funds to pay for materials up front. They don't get paid until the roof has been successfully installed or replaced. Scammers on the other hand will be interested in getting that money before any work is done. Furthermore, while roofers will accept many different forms of payment, scammers will usually insist on cash or personal check.
While there can be exceptions to the above guidelines, no reputable roofer would ever operate without a license, insurance, and the proper paperwork such as a building permit obtained through the city. These regulations are put in place by local governments to protect members of the community. If a roofer comes knocking and can't provide this documentation, do not hire them.
Get it in writing
One of the most important things homeowners can do to protect themselves from roofing scams is to get a written estimate and a roofing contract in writing before any work begins. This keeps roofers from overcharging or adding unnecessary repairs to the bill. Even in the case of an insurance claim, your insurance may not cover certain costs so it's crucial that you know exactly what the roofer is doing on your roof.
If you have any reason to be suspicious, play it safe and go with a roofer that you feel confident with. It's always best to get a few estimates and go with the one that you feel most confident about. If a roofer is trying to pressure you to hire without getting a second opinion, don't be swayed. By following this advice, you can protect yourself from the kind of roofers who will do more damage than good.
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