Home improvement is a hallmark of summer activity, but a new study has revealed that residents of Chicago are the least likely to take out loans targeted for home improvement. The …
Home improvement is a hallmark of summer activity, but a new study has revealed that residents of Chicago are the least likely to take out loans targeted for home improvement.
The city is tied for 45th place out of 50 big cities analyzed in the study, according to Lending Tree. Home improvement loans were only used on .28% of homes within the Chicago area. The only cities to fall lower on the scale were New York, Houston, and Miami.
In contrast, the top 10 cities had more than double this number. Oklahoma City came in first with .77% of homes in the area having taken out home improvement loans in 2017. The Lending Tree survey notes that rapid growth is contributing to the need for improvements.
“The city has been growing rapidly and is one of the most spread out cities in the country, meaning homeowners have lots of room to work with,” Lending Tree noted on Oklahoma City in their report.
Each year, a homeowner should spend between 1% and 4% of the home’s total value on repairs. This means that a $200,000 home should spend around $2,000 annually on repairs, maintenance, and general upkeep.
But residents in Chicago and other big cities are limited because of high mortgage costs and rental housing. In large cities where expansion is a necessity, these numbers are driving up home rental loans.
For other large cities, there is always the possibility of falling victim to a scam.
Baltimore residents have been targeted by a number of scams, so much so, that the Better Business Bureau has warned against consumers hiring any home improvement contractors or specialists who don’t have a license.
Even though the nut and screw industry in the United States employs over 130,000 people, finding those with the right certification is a challenge.
One Baltimore homeowner, Chanel Wells, lost thousands of dollars on a home improvement scam this summer.
Alex Rich ran a business that changed names every couple years to continue scamming homeowners. His business was not certified by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission or listed on its website. Once hired by an unsuspecting homeowner, he would demand outrageous fees for poorly performed work which then resulted in even more damage. After dodging calls, Rich is finally being taken to court in September.
It’s hard to find reliable roofing and home improvement contractors. When 51% of currently employed individuals are actively looking for new openings in their line of work, it can be difficult to get a consistent level of quality for many homeowners.
On top of that, scammers like Rich have been reportedly swindling people all over the country, particularly in the Northwest and Pacific areas.
Luckily, the Better Business Bureau has released a list of tips to avoid home improvement scams.
The first thing you should do is ask for information. A real seller will have no problem providing permit information, certification, or other forms of licensing.
Another major tip includes looking for pressuring behavior. When a door-to-door salesman tries to pressure you into a “today only” deal, it’s likely that they aren’t a reputable contractor. An actual seller will give you the time necessary to mull over the deal they’ve presented.
Another tip is to perform research on the company or seller. If the seller does give you time to think, ensure that they’re a reputable business online or by visiting home improvement commission sites online in your area.
If you’re interested in going into business with the seller, get any deals you make in writing. Print receipts, contracts, and get signatures before entering any deal that demands you pay up-front to avoid hidden fees.
If you’ve been a victim of a scam, don’t hesitate to file a report with the Better Business Bureau.