Home Improvements

Never agree to have work done on the spot.  Determine exactly what you want done, then seek out a qualified contractor.

Dear New Yorker:

Your home is your biggest and most important investment.

That's why you take pride in how it looks, and also want your home to be as comfortable and convenient as possible.

Don't let scam artists separate you from your money. Follow these basic tips to avoid becoming a victim.

If you have a problem with a home improvement contractor or want to learn more about protecting yourself from scam artists -- call or write to :

Office of the New York Attorney General
The State Capitol 
Albany, New York 12224 


Shop around.   Get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided for the job.

Get it in writing.   Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed.

Don't pay unreasonable advance sums.   Negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job. Never pay the full price up front.

Get references.  Check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors. (If you live in New York City, Westchester, Nassau or Suffolk Counties, check your local consumer affairs office). Always contact references provided to you.

Know your rights.   You have three days to cancel after signing a contract for home improvements. All cancellations must be in writing.