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Be wary of fraudulent companies

High-speed winds, large hail and torrential rain made the perfect trifecta to cause extreme damage across parts of Oklahoma recently. Many homeowners are finding themselves boarding up windows and soaking up water in their homes.

Before signing a home-repair contract, check out potential companies with the Better Business Bureau. Also, check into the contractor’s insurance. It’s important the contractor carries general liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage.

Once a contractor has been selected, get a written contract and make sure it spells out all aspects of the work, including the work to be completed, who is paying for materials, who is responsible for applying for any needed permits, and a completion date. It’s a good idea to have an attorney look over the contract, especially if the cost is substantial.

Never sign a blank contract or one that has blank spaces. Be wary of companies offering big discounts for consumers willing to pay the total up front in cash. The best protection is to put the payment on a credit card.

Homeowners should expect to put up about a 30% down payment, which typically is paid when materials are delivered. The final payment should be made only after the work is complete and done to the homeowner’s satisfaction.

“A sense of urgency during these trying times is normal, but it’s important to do your homework and thoroughly check out any company you’re considering hiring to do your repairs,” Peek said. “You obviously want to have your home back to normal as soon as possible, but you also want to make sure you’re protecting the investment.”

OSU Extension offers additional weather and disaster preparedness information.

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