August 12th 2011

RENOVATING? KNOW THE RISKS, AVOID CASH DEALS - Choose a professional renovator, get it in writing.

Deciding to renovate your home can be very exciting; however, it is important that you make sure your family is protected. When an underground contractor offers you a cash deal for renovating your home they do not explain that they are passing some very serious risks onto you as the consumer. Make sure that your family is protected, hire a professional renovator and always sign a contract.

The Canadian Home Builders Association considers consumer protection to be of the utmost importance, therefore, all members of the Association are held to high standards of professionalism for all the work they do.

Contracts and Cash Deals
Paying cash is not always a way to save money - cash deals leave consumers vulnerable to fraud. Working with a renovator that has limited experience may cost you more money and grief than you bargained for. If you do not sign a proper contract for the work being done your renovation project may turn into a nightmare.

A written contract will ensure that both you and the renovator are clear about what work is to be done, the schedule for both construction and payments, and the procedure for change orders. Cash advances should always be accompanied by a receipt or a written contract; without a contract you are not protected if the work is not completed. Always insist on a written contract that includes proof of a contractors liability insurance, Workers Compensation registration, a lien holdback provision and a clear responsibility for compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

As a consumer you must ensure that you are well informed so that you can avoid problems throughout the renovation process. Open communication is the key to avoiding conflict between you and your renovator. Know the renovators obligations and performance standards, the after-sales service standards and processes, and what your own responsibilities are as a customer. Do not hesitate to ask your renovator for answers to these and other questions.

Consumers must be vigilant and do their home work when dealing with unfamiliar businesses. A cash deal is full of numerous hidden risks. Make sure that your family is protected: hire a professional and sign a contract. By hiring a professional member of the your Regional Home Builders Association that abides by our code of ethics and high standards of professionalism, you will protect your home, yourself, and your family.

To find the Canadian Home Builders Association office nearest you please visit