(guest post by Ryan Black)
There are plenty of reasons to stress while remodeling your home, like scheduling conflicts, financial strains and the inconvenience of displacement. The last thing you need at a time like this is to have your home burglarized, but unfortunately it is a very real risk. In fact, it is estimated that of every 33 homes a contractor works on, one will be vandalized or burglarized. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to prevent a home renovation travesty from happening to you.
Keep your home well-lit and clean
Dark, dimly-lit or cluttered home renovation sites are like an all-you-can-eat buffet to petty thieves. Building materials are surprisingly lucrative and are often left out in the open overnight by inattentive workmen. Copper is particularly valuable and can be ripped from fixtures, wiring and piping at your renovation site if left unattended.
Consider installing motion sensor lights at least for the duration of the project to deter any would-be thieves from lurking in dark corners.
Find a trustworthy contractor
Though contractors have received a bad rap due to the frequency of litigation over work disputes, there are still honest contractors out there, but the burden of finding one falls on you, the homeowner. Ask potential contractors for references and check their license with the Better Business Bureau. It only takes a few minutes and it could save you months of heartache and headache.
Even if you find a contractor that seems competent and trustworthy, you should still be aware that any verbal agreements made during negotiations need to be put into writing in order to be honored. Be sure any such agreements are included on your specifications sheet and that any changes that occur in the original renovation quote are written and finalized before giving the go ahead.
If the contractor has proven his or her integrity and all specifications have been made in writing, there is still one more caution to be aware of. Do not put down a large lump sum in advance to start the project.
Offering a limited sum to start the project and agreeing upon a payment schedule allows the homeowner to maintain control of the project. A consultation with an attorney to finalize the payment schedule in a written and legally binding form can help assure that you are not taken advantage of. Additionally, speak with an insurance agent to ensure you are properly insured throughout the project and cannot be held liable later on.
Increase home security
Whether you are staying elsewhere for the duration of the renovation or simply working during the day, keeping an eye on what goes on at your property can keep you updated and give you peace of mind. Installing a security system with IP cameras is an easy way to monitor your property remotely. Whether you are down the street or overseas, all you need is an Internet connection and you can log into your system and view the renovation site in real time. You can watch for suspicious behavior while the site is unmanned or simply check in on the progress of your project.
A number of disasters can strike during a home renovation, so it is important to take preemptive steps to avoid those that are within your control. Boosting your home’s security, maintaining a clean and well-lit exterior and completing research on any potential contractor can help keep your dream renovation from turning into a nightmare.