Refinance Trend Could Mean Spring Home Remodeling Fever Will Be Hotter Than Ever
Contractors Board Has Free Information for Homeowners
SACRAMENTO — With steady, record-low interest rates, home refinancing swelled nearly 50 percent in 2002*. California's Contractors State License Board anticipates the cash-out activity accompanying most refinances will turn up the heat on this spring's remodeling season and advises homeowners to get informed before tackling any home improvement project.
Whether it's deferred repairs like fence and roof replacements or major home improvements like kitchen or bath remodels or pool installation, spring is the prime season for hiring a contractor. More than ever, consumers need to be informed about how to hire and manage home improvement contractors. The CSLB offers free tools to help homeowners protect their investment and make the home improvement process easier and safer including:
- "Home Improvement Bill of Rights and Check List" — An essential tool to help homeowners exercise their rights and responsibilities when hiring and managing contractors
- "Before You Dive Into Swimming Pool Construction" -- A common sense guide to responsibly managing your pool construction project
- "Tips for Hiring a Roofing Contractor" -- A pamphlet outlining the basics on repairing vs. replacing your roof and how to handle the project effectively
- "What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor" — The definitive resource for detailed information about hiring a contractor and successfully navigating any home improvement project.
- "10 Tips for making sure your contractor measures up" — A quick reference produced in multiple languages:
The CSLB urges all consumers to follow these tips when hiring a contractor:
- Check the contractor's license with the CSLB at www.cslb.ca.gov
- Get at least three bids and check references
- Get a written contract, and don't sign it until you understand the terms
- Don't pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment
- Don't pay cash and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 278,000 contractors, and investigates 25,000 complaints against contractors annually.
*Refinancing activity was up 47 percent in the third quarter of 2002 from the same period a year ago, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla firm that monitors real estate activity.
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