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Buyer Beware

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inline-improvement4.jpgInternet shopping may not be best bet for home repairs.

No doubt about it. The Internet has revolutionized the way consumers worldwide shop for everything from books to shoes. Even big-ticket items such as cars, boats and houses can be found online these days. In terms of convenience and cost-savings, online shopping is often a good thing. But sometimes, as in the case of home repair services, the risks may outweigh the benefits.

Having work done around the house is one of the few occasions when we invite relative strangers to spend extended periods of time in our homes. Therefore, it is very important to make sure you're comfortable with who you're hiring to do the work.

While online home improvement service portals can sometimes appear local at first glance, many such companies actually operate exclusively from a central headquarters and broker jobs to local contractors. In most cases, those online companies have little or no personal knowledge of the contractor dispatched to perform the work and almost no direct connection to the communities they serve. There are also some concerns about who is responsible if something goes wrong.

There can be very little accountability on the parts of most of these online home repair brokers. Most such companies make money by selling leads to local contractors, so they really have very little obligation to the homeowner after that transaction takes place.

So buyer beware. When there's work to be done around the home, Handyman Connection recommends hiring only local contractors or national contracting companies with local offices. Choose firms run by people who live and work in your area. Find out how long the company has been doing business in your community and ask for local references. Ask home repair firms about how they screen their handymen and how they warranty the work those handymen perform. If you don't feel completely comfortable with the answers, we recommend moving on.

It's fine to use the Internet to locate a contracting firm or a handyman, but then take the next step — look them up in your local phone book and give them a call. A few minutes on the phone with a prospective home improvement firm will tell you everything you need to know.


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Sunderland Home Improvement proudly provides general home maintenance in Southeastern North Carolina, including Clayton, Garner, Smithfield, Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina. Home improvement is one of the smartest investments you can make and can increase the value of your home.
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