The residential and commercial building market is exploding in Tennessee. For the economy this is a great thing – new residents have moved to the state bringing more jobs, business and wealth.

If you are trying to buy a home or apartment, a boom in house building can sometimes mean that the quality of work is sacrificed. If you can spot a rogue builder who is out to make a quick buck, you might be able to save some time, money and heartbreak further on.

Tips to avoid a cowboy builder

A cowboy builder is a tradesperson with little training and no proper qualifications. Typically, he or she provides low quality work. If you employ a cowboy builder, your house could end up with big defects, which could cost you thousands to fix.

Here are a few precautions you can take to find out if someone you are thinking of hiring is a cowboy builder:

  • Get a recommendation. Try to find people who have used the builder before. Social media is also a great resource for getting a wide cross section of the builder’s history.
  • Delve into their past. How long has the builder been open? What work did the builder do? What did customers think? Where is the builder based? What are the builder’s contact details? Did the builder arrive unannounced?
  • Do not pay in advance. You would not do this in a hair salon, so why would it make sense for a builder? Do not be intimidated into paying early. Do not fall for offers of a discount or warranty. Write out a clear schedule of when payments will occur: before starting, during the build and upon completion.
  • Do not pay cash. Paying cash does not create proof of payment. Make sure you get a receipt specifying the work that was done and what was paid.
  • Accreditation. To get an accreditation with a professional body, a builder will have to undergo thorough evaluations of their previous work and business practices. An accreditation provides an extra layer of security when choosing a contractor.
  • Sign a contract. Make sure you sign a contract with the builder you hire. The contract should outline the costs, roles and timeline for you and the builder. The more detailed and the clearer the document is, the better. A comprehensive, written contract will always help you more than verbal agreements and handshakes should a disagreement arise.
  • Price. Finally, if the deal is too good to be true, then it probably is. Research what the project is worth and get more than one quote.

There are many ways to find out if your builder is qualified. These steps can help you get a great house, and not an expensive mistake. Especially in Tennessee’s current boom market, it pays to do your research. However, if you do hire a cowboy builder and are left cleaning up the mess, there are ways you could be compensated through taking legal action.