How to avoid getting yourself into renovation scam

By James Frankurt , Feb 05, 2017
How to avoid getting yourself into renovation scam

Renovating your home is an enjoyable and satisfying journey. From receiving your floor plan, meeting several designers, getting quotations and finally deciding on the ideal one to kick off your renovation journey. It can be a long process but the end result is often rewarding and pleasing. However, there are always bound to be black sheep in this industry that is out to scam homeowners and fail to deliver what they have promised. To help prevent and minimise the chances of this scenario happening, here are some tips and advice to prevent yourself from becoming one of those victims  

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It is important to select IDs based on word of mouth, especially from your families, relatives or friends! Your families or friends will only recommend those IDs because they have done a good work previously or they must be responsible and reliable enough. Just make sure that when they recommend the ID, it is a company or someone that they previously engaged else it's not a valid or trustable recommendation.

2. Do a thorough research on your selected IDs

Do a background check on the ID 

It is important to get more information of your ID from various sources such as ACRA, Case Trust or RADAC (Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre). Make sure that the ID has a valid address, website or contact details so that you can look for them when there are any problems or hiccups. By choosing a renovation company from Case Trust, you'll be able to receive compensation or get back your deposit if the company fails to deliver their promise.

Search for reviews from homeowners who have engaged the ID services.

Visit the renovation company's office/showroom and ongoing sites 

Always request to visit their showroom or check out some of their on-going renovations. Companies that are reluctant to allow you to drop by is either a scam or they are probably lying!

Conduct a detailed check through different social media platforms

Start googling your selected IDs and see the results returned. Go browse through online forums, portals, Facebook, Instagrams etc and source for as many information as you can before making a decision. You will be surprised with the information you can get from these channels.

3. Do not go for really cheap quotes

As the saying goes, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Well, this really happens in the renovation industry. If you see a promotion that is going at ridiculously low prices, you know it's a deal DEFINITELY TO BE MISSED. Normally, for a standard 5-room, 4-room & 3-room renovation, the price range are roughly similar across different IDs. Furthermore, there will always be hidden costs in the renovation. These hidden costs can be huge amounts that add up. At the end of the day, your renovation amount will be a hefty sum.

4. Request for progressive payments

Instead of paying 1 lump sum, opt for progressive payments for your renovation process. Most firms will collect a deposit but a deposit of more than 30% of the entire fees is too much. If you are paying your ID based on completed tasks, it will be an incentive for them to get things done quickly. But do not provide a tight timeline as they may produce slipshod work.

5. Ensure proper documentation and paperwork

Before signing or paying for anything, ensure that you are well aware of the terms of agreement or terms and conditions. Ensure that the pricing and materials and renovation works are all indicated clearly in the contract. Some things that you need to look our for are:

  • Payment terms and work of progress
  • Cost of renovation and materials
  • what are the things excluded from the renovation package
  • Termination clause (check for penalties)
  • refund policies

To play safe, always document down all forms of communications carried out between yourself and the firm during the renovation. If you need to claim, you will need evidence to prove your point. For example, if you want to claim for the delay of a job, a timeline should be indicated in the contractual agreement.

6. Conduct frequent site visits during your renovation.

It is important to conduct frequent visits to ensure that everything is going smoothly. At the very least, if there are problems along the way, it can be rectified almost immediately. Also, by conducting frequent visits, you can keep track of the completion progress.

Request quotation from trusted Interior Designers with good reviews from homeowners.