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These three pieces of paper will protect you financially from a crooked contractor.

GREENSBORO, NC -- We tell you all the time that before you choose a contractor, make sure you do your homework, get references, and make sure they have a license. But just because you choose a contractor, your work's not done. 2 Wants to Know's Lechelle Yates shares three important pieces of paper to get from your contractor anytime you have work done.

Sometimes mortar and a skilled craftsman are just not enough to guarantee smooth construction. Philip Simpson knew that when his family needed more space. "We have three kids. We had enough to worry about. I don't need to worry about who the contractor is and if they're going to show up and did they run off with our check."

His protection started with important piece of paper #1: his payment schedule with Tom Garcia and Southern Evergreen. Philip paid when workers finished the foundation, then again when they finished the framing and then the roof. Tom says the the payment schedule really protects everyone. "It protects the contractor because he has the funds to pay the bills. It also protects the homeowner because they only have the amount of money out for the work that's been performed."

A payment schedule also makes it easy to get important piece of paper #2: a lien waiver. The waiver proves the contractor paid vendors.Tom says, "If they don't pay their bills, those vendors or suppliers can come back at you and try to get paid even though you may have already paid the contractor." So without that waiver, the vendors can put a lien on your house.

Finally important piece of paper #3: insurance. Specifically the contractor's workers comp and general liability insurance. Workers' comp covers the worker if he's injured and general liability ensures that if the contractor damages your home, their insurance pays to fix it. "In this down economy it's something to check for because one of the first things that contractors tend to get rid of when they need to pull back are those insurances."

We know - you don't like to seem pushy. But Tom says it's just good business for a contractor to provide the payment schedule, insurance and lien waivers. If he won't, Tom says you should probably keep.... looking for another contractor. Tom also says a good place to look for a builder is the local home builder's association. He says they have to pay to be members.

Greensboro Builders Association
High Point Area Builders Association

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