We are entering the “Home Show Season.”  For those planning on a remodel, update or a new build, it’s a chance to see many of the area’s contractors and their work, all gathered in the same space. Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises that you take your time, avoid spur-of-the-moment decisions and do your homework in advance.

Here’s what to consider before you visit a Home Show:

  • Research vendors that you expect to visit and try to check the companies out in advance at bbb.org. You can find out more about which contractors will be exhibiting by going to the website for the home show.
  • Make a list. There are many distractions at a home show. A smart tactic is to write out pertinent questions beforehand.
  • Consider your budget and keep a clear goal in mind. You will almost certainly get distracted at the show by new ideas and innovations you had not considered ahead of time. While there’s nothing wrong with considering new options, things can quickly get out of hand if you do not keep your original budget in mind.
  • Do comparison shopping. If you find multiple companies that offer the service you are looking for, ask each the same questions. Take notes. Compare offers. Try to be as specific as possible about your needs and expectations. Don’t just ask about the price of a job (you likely won’t get specifics anyway until they have visited the site), but also ask about policies and warranties.
  • Watch out when signing up for contests, drawings or services because your contact information could be shared. Know that your email offers, direct mail and telemarketing phone calls could increase because you signed up for something. Ask questions before signing up for anything.
  • Avoid any high-pressure sales tactics. Returns on quick sales can be complicated. Save all receipts and paperwork, including those emailed or texted to you.
  • Don’t be shy about asking for license and insurance details.
  • If you settle on a contractor, never pay in full in advance. One-third of the total cost is an appropriate advance payment. Set up a payment schedule that’s based on the job’s progress.
  • Get everything in writing. Verbal agreements are useless. You should have a contract that details the work, materials and length of time required for the job.
  • Know your rights. Under the Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule,” any contract for goods or services in excess of $130, when entered into at a seller’s temporary location, can be canceled within three business days following the date of the contract. The contractor must tell you this, by law, at the time of the sale. They must also give you two copies of a cancellation form at that time. One is to keep and one is to return to the contractor.

Informed consumers can benefit the most from a home show. The above tips should help you be among them. If you have questions or concerns about selecting a contractor or anything else regarding the home show experience, contact your BBB at 800-649-6814 or visit our website at bbb.org.

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