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Front Page - Friday, April 24, 2020

Home Builders Association offering guidance to area tornado victims

As communities in North Georgia and Chattanooga continue to recover after an EF-3 tornado and a band of severe storms ravaged the area, the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga wants to help victims avoid costly mistakes when hiring a contractor to repair their properties.

While it is understandable that homeowners want to fix property damage as quickly as possible, it’s important to do some research first and avoid rushing into a decision. Even after a traumatic weather event like the recent tornado, preparation is the key to finding the best contractor to get the job done.

Keep in mind the following tips:

• Choose a contractor based in the area with a verifiable local phone number and permanent address. Be wary of contractors with no ties to the area or ones that solicit door-to-door and offer steep discounts.

• Get local references and ask friends or family for referrals of professionals who have successfully completed similar home repairs or construction projects.

• Verify licensure of the contractor by visiting sos.ga.gov in Georgia or verify.tn.gov in Tennessee. Make sure the company or individual carries both a business and contractor’s license.

• Ask for documented proof (and then verify by phone or in person) the contractor is insured and bonded.

• Compare itemized quotes from three or more contractors, making sure all estimates are for the same work, specifications and warranties. Do not sign any paperwork until you’re certain and have fully researched the company, and do not endorse insurance checks directly to the contractor. Get in writing exactly how you will make payments for the work performed.

Don’t try to do it alone! For a list of local professional contractors who are currently doing post-storm repairs in the area, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net.