This morning over at Get Rich Slowly, there was a great post about what can go wrong when you are getting a home repair done, “Our Roof Repair: A Typical Tale of Working with Contractors.” It was written by J.D. Roth, and it’s about his recent experience with working with a bad contractor while doing a home repair on his 100+ year old home.

Anyone who has owned a home for any length of time has had to deal with home repairs. Obviously, the older the home, the more likely there is for things to go wrong. Also, anyone who has any experience hiring a contractor to do repairs on your home knows that it can be a very difficult process.

Roth’s experience was this: his roof was leaking badly, so he had three contractors come out to gives bids on the repairs. One contractor had a lot of experience and seemed to know exactly what to do to solve the problem, but his bid was the highest. Another contractor had much less experience, but he seemed to know what he was talking about, and his bid was the lowest. The last contractor didn’t even do a thorough check of the problem, and his bid was somewhere in the middle.

Roth hired the contractor with the lowest bid; however, he immediately regretted it. The work was done poorly, delays kept cropping up, and all told, while the leak was fixed, it wasn’t fixed as well as it should have been.

We’re sure every homeowner reading this could share similar stories about home repairs gone wrong. There often tends to be a reason someone is the cheapest bid. Not to say that you should never hire the contractor with the cheapest bid, but make sure you do your research about them. How long has the company been around? Can you see previous customers’ testimonials? That’s not to say that the most expensive bid would have been any better. If Roth had gone with that bid, he may have ended up in the same position with less money in the bank.

And don’t underestimate how comfortable the contractor makes you feel! If you don’t feel like you can trust that person to do the job right, don’t hire them. Maybe not the best way to judge a contractor’s work, but if you’re uncomfortable with the person working for you, the experience will be that much worse!

The bottom line is, if you don’t have the knowledge and skill to make a home repair yourself, make sure you do your research. Also, the more contractors you have give you bids, the better off you’ll be. But, just like in Roth’s case, you may still end up having to deal with bad workmanship and the problems that might create for you down the road. Unfortunately, there is no real way to get around that possibility! That’s one of the pitfalls of owning a home!

Our next post will be in two weeks, as we’ll be travelling next week for a family wedding.



  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.