Whether your selling, letting, buying or renting, many property transactions all have one thing in common… interaction with your friendly local tradesman at some stage.
Whether it’s bringing in a professional to check a potential purchase over before you commit to buy, or having someone on hand to deal with tenant’s troubles when a pipe bursts, it’s always handy to have a little black book of reliable experts who can deal with the ups and downs of property ownership.
Finding a professional isn’t always easy though. Research released by landscape product supplier Marshalls has shown that a whopping four out of ten households admitted to having had a bad example with cowboy builders, whilst one in ten think that they have been the victim of a total con!
Whether it is leaving work in an unfinished state, overcharging or simply not doing what they say they will, rogue traders can leave hapless homeowners in serious trouble, so it is important to ensure that you protect yourself, your property, and your pocket if you are looking to instruct a tradesman.
There are a few simple steps you an take to help avoid falling victim of the ‘Cowboy Builder’:
- Get a recommendation from friends, family or neighbours – this is the best way to check the quality of work, and get a good idea of what someone is like! if your family and friends are happy to recommend them to you, they’re unlikely to be too bad!
- Get quotes from at least three tradesmen before you commit: If one option comes out significantly cheaper it should ring alarm bells – consider that parts and materials may be inferior, or possibly less time will be spent on your project.
- If your tradesman can’t give you a firm start date, you should be slightly suspicious. Setting timescales is part of delivering a successful project and knowing when each project will start and finish should be a concern.
- Never hand over more than a deposit before work is completed (unless you are having to pay for significant materials of course, and then make sure that you get a receipt!) and only hand over the final balance when you are COMPLETELY happy with the work. Make this arrangement clear from the very start of the project. If the tradesman isn’t happy with this, consider using someone else.
- Always get a receipt for any money that you hand over. This will safeguard you should you need to query anything, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Although there are rogues out there, most of the tradesmen in the UK are professional, and as long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls, and follow the simple steps, you should have no problems finding a great person to help you make the most of your property!
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