The storm has passed and volunteers have come to help clean up the large debris. Now what? What is the next step for you as a homeowner? Who do you call first? What do you do next? You can’t live in that temporary housing forever. We all know it’s difficult. Nobody knows HOW difficult unless they have been through it.
As a homeowner, I have personally been through relocation due to a house fire. I know firsthand how tough it can be. I have felt the pain of losing belongings, having damaged furniture, and that feeling of hopelessness. I also know that “this too shall pass”. After about three months of living in a hotel room, my family was able to return home.
Remodel 615 is here to help. In a storm/loss situation, it’s best to contact your insurance provider first. I always recommend reaching out to your LOCAL homeowner’s insurance representative. Online vendors are less personable and not available in those darkest hours.
Again, contact your local rep if possble. DO NOT call the 800 number first. Heed their advice. They have your best interest at heart. Work through the steps with them. They may recommend a contractor to call (we hope it’s Remodel 615!). They may even send a contractor out to meet with you to assess the damage. This is to decide if the damage exceeds your deductible. If it doesn’t, it isn’t worth filing a claim. Filing a claim will cause your insurance rates to increase. If your agent doesn’t connect you with a qualified contractor, you may need some tips on how to vet your own contractor. If you do not have a local insurance rep, find a qualified local contractor who will represent you with your insurance company. Start by getting a personal referral from family or friends. If they cannot recommend a reputable contractor, please keep reading...
If you haven’t heard the term “storm chaser”, you have now. There are companies that base their entire business on the insurance industry and chasing the next storm. They work nationally and commute from one city or state to the next, taking advantage of homeowners. I say that because a contractor from another state has no ability or desire to fulfill a warranty. If they rebuild your wall or replace your roof, they may complete the project. However, when you call that phone number again in the future because you have an issue with that wall or that roof, the number will most likely be disconnected.
Storm chasers roll into town within the first 12 hours after a major storm. They have lettering, magnets and/or stickers made for their trucks and they install them the same day. They request and purchase local phone numbers and some even register their vehicles with the city that same day to have local license plates.
How does a homeowner know which contractor is local and which is temporary during the storm? Here are some tips:
-Remember the basics; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
-Ask to SEE licenses: business, contractor’s, and driver’s license. The license plate on their vehicle will also say a lot.
-The state board of licensing website will show if the contractor’s license is up-to-date and in good standing. https://verify.tn.gov is the website to research the standing of a contractor’s license.
-Don’t trust a phone number prefix. It takes about 10 seconds to obtain a local area code (and website, business Facebook page, etc.).
-Do your research. Qualified contractors should have at least a basic website.
-Look for reviews online. Ask for referrals from past local clients and don’t be ashamed to do so.
-Visit the homes of the referrals if possible.
-Check the contractor with the Better Business Bureau.
-Be sure the contractor is willing and able to acquire local permits. If a contractor tries to avoid permits, that is a red flag.
-Trust your gut. Ask questions. A good contractor will be willing to take the time to answer those questions until he/she gains your trust. If you have reservations, ask questions until you feel secure or decide to hire a different contractor.
-If he/she seems rushed to get a signature, you should probably wait to decide.
These tips and others are easy ways to learn about a contractor. These people will be part of your life for the duration of the repair. You need someone who cares and is very trustworthy. The decision is an important one and should be made carefully. Remodel 615 is always willing to refer you to a qualified tradesperson or to discuss your project thoroughly to determine if our company’s abilities are best for your repair. Don’t hesitate to call and email for advice. We care about our customers and our communities and want to help protect them from out-of-town scammers as much as possible.
The recent storms in our area have taken so much from us. Don’t let a storm chaser take even more. Give Remodel 615 a call. We’re here for the long haul. 615-480-0267