Birmingham Home Inspector Warns Post-Tornado Home Owners
WHI3, a home inspection service has some advice for homeowners before they hire a contractor to repair their tornado damaged home.
May, 2010, Birmingham, AL: The whole country has begun to rally behind homeowners whose homes were severely damaged in the recent onslaught of tornadoes throughout Alabama. Contractors, builders and laborers are pouring in to relieve the load of work that must be done. Most are honest and want to help out. But, there are the few who resemble the carpetbaggers that invaded after the Civil War. They are out to make a quick buck off of our states tragedy.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has released a public notice in association with the Alabama Home Builders Association (HBAA). On May 5, 2011 he stated this—
“It is important that we get the message out to criminals who would prey on our citizens that the law enforcement in Alabama is on guard and we will not tolerate anyone causing further harm to our people who have suffered the devastation of these tornadoes and storms.”
Anthony Westbrook of Birmingham based WHI3 Home Inspection Services gives pointers to homeowners wishing to hire a contractor.
First, verify the contractor’s name, business address and phone number if they are Alabama based by contacting the Better Business Bureau or HBAA at (800)745-4222 or online at http://www.bba.org.
Second, people should ask for three references they can contact.
Third, ask them to show items such as proof of their bonding, workman’s comp insurance (if they will hire a team to do the work) and liability insurance. See if they are certified in their field.
Fourth, agree on the price and ask for a written estimate before they begin. It should include a start and finish date in writing and be detailed and specific as to the materials needed.
Tell the contractor that before work can begin, other bids must be obtained and submitted to the insurance agent for review. If they try to pressure a potential consumer, it could be a sign they are not trustworthy.
Finally, never pay for labor up front. If possible, people should consider going to the supplier or building supply store and pay for the materials themselves, setting up a delivery time with the supplier and contractor. Then, before final payment exchanges hands, have the work inspected. It may cost a bit more, but is well worth the headaches later if the contractor has done shoddy, hurried work, cut corners or used lesser grade materials.
If someone suspects fraud, contact the Alabama Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at (800)392-5658 or log onto www.ago.state.al.us/. Another thing people should consider if they have questions about a contractor’s work is to contact their insurance agent and ask if they will pay for a certified home inspection.
In the Birmingham, AL area, anyone may contact Anthony Westbrook, owner of WHI3 at (205)378-9443. Anthony Westbrook said, “We’re here to help. We know most of the reliable contractors in the area and how to help people discern if the one they wish to hire is reputable, even if they are from out of state. Don’t be a victim of fraud. Folks in Alabama have suffered enough loss.”
- Contact Information
- Anthony Westbrook
- President and Certified Inspector
- W.H.I.3 Home Inspection Services
- Contact via E-mail
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