Many homeowners respond, “Well, guy seemed legit” when they realise they’ve paid $1,500 for “materials” and are left with a project that isn’t even close to being done.

Even while the majority of contractors are trustworthy, industrious individuals, a few bad apples can ruin the experience for everyone else. Identifying and avoiding contractor scams can be as simple as following these five steps by home remodeling contractors Massachusetts :

Con #1: I’ll Need Money Right Away

The BBB receives a lot of complaints about this. To get the job started, your contractor says he needs 30 percent to 50 percent of the total cost up front because he needs to order materials and rent earthmoving equipment. Either he goes without a trace or he starts doing shoddy work because he knows you can’t really fire him because he’s sitting on thousands of dollars of your money, depending on how much money you’ve given him.

What to do if you’re attacked: Never pay more than $1,000 in advance, or 10% of the entire job cost. In some areas, that’s the legal maximum and enough to prove that you’re a serious customer so that the contractor can fit you into his schedule—the only valid reason of an advance payment.. If he’s a reputable contractor, his suppliers should be willing to give goods and backhoe rentals on credit.

Con #2: Take My Word For It

You meet with the contractor and he agrees to follow your instructions to the letter, even suggesting his own enhancements and upgrades that you would not have thought of. The contract agreement omits some elements, but you don’t think it matters because you had such an unambiguous verbal understanding.

As time goes on, you begin to discover that the additional features you had discussed are not being created. It’s not uncommon for contractors to refuse to include certain amenities in their quoted prices, so you’ll either have to make due without them or fork out more cash for a rework.

What to do if you’re attacked: Because you accepted a contract that didn’t include all of the specifics, you have few, if any, legal remedies to pursue against your contractor. Next time, be careful to include everything you agreed on in the project description. Before you sign the contract, add any missing elements, sign them, and have the contractor sign them as well.

Con # 3: I’m not required to obtain a licence.

You must obtain a building permit for any major construction project that requires a building permit. Allows inspectors to check in on work to make sure it’s being done in accordance with safety regulations on a regular basis.

You should always be wary of contractors who claim that they won’t be caught if you hire them for little interior projects. The contractor may ask you to apply for a homeowner’s permit, which is accessible to do-it-yourselfers, on significant works that can’t be hidden.

If you’re performing the work on your own, you’ll have to lie to the authorities about who is doing it. This means that you are on the hook for all inspections because the contractor does not have to answer the inspector’s questions, thus you have to.

What to do if you’re attacked: Insist on a building permit from the contractor at all times. The local tax assessor will be notified of your upgrade, but you will be protected against unlicensed contractors and the work will be evaluated by a third party.

Con #4: Encountered difficulties that we had not anticipated.

When this one comes around, the work may have already been completed, or it may have already begun. Suddenly, your contractor notifies you that the agreed-upon price has gone up. He accuses you of changing the design of the project after structural issues like a missing beam or termite damage were discovered.

There may be legitimate reasons for the additional fees but unscrupulous contractors may bid low to secure the business and then find reasons to raise the price afterwards. The National Association of Home Builders, a home inspector, or even your local building department may be able to give you an independent assessment of structural issues if you’re dubious about your contractor’s claims.

What to do if you’re attacked: Change orders are mini-contracts with a work description and a predetermined price for any additional work being added to the project. Before signing the contract, check to see if it includes a change order method. Contractors and homeowners must sign a modification order before any further work may begin, whether it’s due to unexpected building problems or the homeowner’s whim.

Con #5:  I’ve Got Extra Materials I’d Be Willing to Sell You for Cheap

Hot-top asphalt and concrete can’t be returned to suppliers, thus driveway paving contractors often spread this misinformation. As a result, the crew arrives at your home with a truck full of leftover materials and offers to resurface your driveway for a very reasonable fee right there and then.

It’s a gamble even if it’s a great deal, because you don’t know who they are or how reliable their references are. As for next year, if the driveway starts to crumble, you won’t see this group again.

What to do if you’re attacked: Never hire a contractor on the spot, whether it’s a driveway paver, an emergency repairman who comes up after a large storm, or a landscaper with excess plantings