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Lifestyles
Here’s what you should know before hiring someone to work on your house…
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Here’s what you should know before hiring someone to work on your house…

Here’s what you should know before hiring someone to work on your house…

Here’s what you should know before hiring someone to work on your house…

I am a little put out because it seems in just the last 4 to 6 weeks I have gotten a lot more mail and phone calls dealing with bad contractors.

A good housing market can drive less than qualified people out into the service field looking to make an easy, fast buck by doing shoddy work on unsuspecting homeowners. These folks are either doing poor quality work or just flat out doing no work and running with the money.

Either way, people are getting ripped off.

Finding a qualified professional doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Here are some guidelines for you to follow to make the selection process easier, and your decision a better, informed decision.

- Employ a contractor with an established business in your area. Ask for and check references from past customers. By going back 5 years or more you can get a better picture of the company’s work, longevity in the community, and customer service.

- Contact the state or local licensing agencies to ensure that your contractor meets all licensing requirements. While the state of Georgia does not require a licensed contractor for work costing under $2,500, a licensed contractor is preferable.

- Check with the Office of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no adverse files on record for your contractor.

- Ask to see a copy of the contractor’s certification of insurance. Fake documentation is easy to come by so make sure you call the insurance company to verify the coverage. The company should carry worker’s comp, property damage and personal liability insurance.

- If you solicit bids from different companies be sure they are bidding on the same scope and quality of work.

If your project involves more than the changing of a light bulb you should also get a written contract from your remodeler. A well written contract is essential.

- Be sure the contract includes the contractor’s name, address, phone number and license number.

- Detail not only what the contractor will do, but what they will not do as well.

- A detailed list of materials for the project should be included on the contract including size, color, model, brand name and product.

- The start date and completion date should be included.

One more thing before you get to work. Make sure all financial terms are understood and spelled out in the contract, including total price, payment schedule, and any cancellation penalty.

A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year should also be written into the contract.

Whew. I know that sounds like a lot of work but by putting the effort in up front, your project will run smoother and you will be able to enjoy the process.

One more note. If you have an uneasy feeling about working a specific contractor, then don’t. You are going to spend a lot of money sprucing up your home. You should have a good working relationship with your contractor. 

This should be fun. Enjoy your new look home…

>>More from Dave Baker

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News

  • A black woman was watching her 8-year-old nephew when she was fatally shot by a white police officer inside her Texas home. >> Read more trending news  A Fort Worth police officer did not announce that he was an officer before firing a single shot striking Atatiana Jefferson, who was inside the room with the boy, Fort Worth police Lt. Brandon O’Neil said at a news conference Sunday.  “What the officer observed and why he did not announce ‘police’ will be addressed as the investigation continues,” O’Neil said in a statement. “The members of the Fort Worth Police Department share your very real and valid concerns, as do the members of this city and people across the country. This tragic loss of life has major ramifications for all involved, especially the family of Ms. Atatiana Jefferson.” O’Neil declined to answer reporters’ questions and said Fort Worth police Chief Ed Kraus plans to conduct a more in-depth news conference Monday. The family also confirmed Jefferson was watching her nephew at the time. The two typically lived with an older woman who’s been in the hospital. Jefferson’s family is seeking answers. “It’s another one of those situations where the people that are supposed to protect us are actually not here to protect us,” said Jefferson’s sister, Amber Carr. “You know, you want to see justice, but justice don’t bring my sister back.” Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, said the officer never had time to perceive a threat.  “You didn’t hear the officer shout, ‘Gun, gun, gun,’” Merritt said. “He didn’t have time to perceive a threat. That’s murder.” Neighbor James Smith called a nonemergency line Saturday for a welfare check after noticing the lights were on and a door was open. Fort Worth police released bodycam footage soon after the incident Saturday.  Video shows officers with flashlights and guns drawn scanning the perimeter of the home. The front door appears to be open although the screen door is closed. As officers continue to walk through the property, one of them sees a person standing at a dark window and yells: “Put your hands up. Show me your hands,” before firing a single shot.  Police located a gun in a bedroom when they entered the house. Investigators did not indicate if Jefferson was holding the firearm. The officer, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave. He has been with the department since April 2018. He is scheduled to be interviewed by investigators Monday.  The shooting comes less than two weeks after a white former Dallas police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of her black neighbor inside his own apartment. Amber Guyger, 31, said during her trial that mistook Botham Jean’s apartment for her own, which was one floor below Jean’s. Merritt also represents Jean’s family. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Kenny Dixon, the longtime drummer for Georgia-raised country music star Kane Brown was killed in a car accident, the band confirmed Sunday. >> Read more trending news  Dixon was from Dalton, Georgia. It's unclear where the crash happened but his bandmates say he died Saturday. 'It is with profound sadness and disbelief that we confirm we lost our drummer Kenny this weekend in a tragic car accident,' the band wrote in a statement. 'Kenny was a member of our family from the very beginning, and our hearts are with his fiancée Sarah, his son and everyone who knew and loved him. He was truly one of the greatest and kindest people on and off stage we’ve ever known.” Dixon's fiance, Sarah Hendrick, also confirmed the musician's death in an Instagram post on Sunday. 'I’m at a loss of words. I don’t even know how to write this or ever thought I would have to. Kenny passed away last night in a car accident. I know I have to be strong for Levi and God is gonna pull us through this. We have a forever guardian angel watching above us now. Please keep Levi, my family, and Kenny’s family in your prayers,' she wrote. Dixon and Hendrick were set to wed Nov. 30 in Dalton, according to the couple’s wedding website on The Knot. They were parents to a son, Levi. Brown also commented on the drummer’s death on social media.
  • A former University of Georgia student pleaded guilty Friday to running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors, including fellow students and their families, from his Athens fraternity house. >> Read more trending news  Syed Arham Arbab, 22, of Augusta, admitted to defrauding 117 people in a scheme that attracted about $1 million from investors, prosecutors said. A news release said Arbab spent funds on clothes, shoes, adult entertainment and gambling trips to Las Vegas. “The defendant engaged in a pattern of deceit to gain the trust of unwitting investors who gave him their hard-earned money for what they believed was a sound investment,” Charlie Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in the release. From May 2018 to May of this year, Arbab sought investors for Artis Proficio Capital Management and Artis Proficio Capital Investments. Prosecutors said Arbab issued false account statements and misrepresented the size of the funds and returns. Among his false claims, prosecutors said, Arbab said a former UGA athlete and NFL star was among his investors. Arbab pleaded to a single count of securities fraud. He is scheduled for sentencing in January. In late May, the Securities and Exchange Commission initiated a civil complaint against Arbab, which is pending. In June, a federal judge froze Arbab’s assets and those of his investment funds. At the time, the SEC alleged Arbab defrauded at least eight investors of $269,000, but warned that the size of the scheme could be larger. In text messages, Arbab allegedly told investors his firm was “different because we target young investors/college kids,” and he charged lower commissions, the SEC complaint said. Arbab allegedly told investors he guaranteed investments of up to $15,000. The SEC said Arbab also sold “bond agreements,” which were like loans. Instead, Arbab allegedly deposited funds in his bank account and used new proceeds to pay off previous investors who sought money. A bio on the website for Artis Proficio stated that Arbab graduated cum laude from UGA with a degree in cellular biology, and that at the time, he working on a masters of business administration at UGA’s business school. Prosecutors said Arbab had in fact been rejected from the MBA program at UGA’s Terry College of Business.
  • When Stoneham firefighters arrived at a two-alarm fire around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a woman living at the single-family home was on her roof overhang escaping the flames. >> Read more trending news   Stoneham police officers instructed her to jump from the overhang, and she was caught by Stoneham police officers Stephen Aprile and John Burton. She was the only person at the home at the time of the fire. 'Today marks the last day of Fire Prevention Week and the theme for this year covered how important it is for people to have an escape plan to get out of their home,' says Stoneham fire Chief Matthew Grafton. 'The resident who was at home at the time of (Saturday's) fire is an excellent example of someone who knew to find an available escape route and got herself safely out of the house as quickly as possible.' The fire was in the kitchen on the first floor and smoke was billowing from all windows. Crews from the Woburn, Melrose, Wakefield, Winchester and Reading fire departments helped on scene while Saugus, Medford and Malden firefighters helped with station coverage. Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the rest of the house, but the home sustained heavy damage from smoke and water, estimated at $150,000 to $200,000. The family of six who lived at the home is being helped by family and friends in the area. One dog was rescued and taken to a vet for evaluation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
  • The final day of the Atlanta Air Show is canceled after a pilot ejected from a plane Sunday afternoon. The airshow began Saturday and was scheduled to continue Sunday afternoon at Tara Field near the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.  >> Read more trending news  Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier, a pilot with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, ejected from his aircraft shortly before the squadron was due to perform, the Snowbirds announced on Twitter on Sunday.  Domon-Grenier’s CT-114 Tutor crashed prior to the show’s opening, Airshow officials said. He made it safely to the ground and is OK, the CF Snowbirds said.  Nobody was injured when the plane crashed in an unpopulated area, according to the Snowbirds.
  • New Birth Missionary Baptist Church plans to redirect a donation it received from rap artist Kanye West to Atlanta’s Morris Brown College, officials said.  Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant on Sunday announced a financial contribution to the HBCU’s general scholarship fund, according to a New Birth spokesman.  The announcement came during the 9:30 a.m.  church service. Bryant, senior pastor of New Birth in Stonecrest, said the funds  will be used to make a financial contribution in honor of the Grammy Award-winning artist’s late mother Donda West, who previously served on the faculty at Morris Brown.  The size of the donation wasn’t immediately announced. Morris Brown College has struggled financially since losing its accreditation in 2002. Only a few dozen students attend the college, down from as many as 2,700 in the mid-1990s. Among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it is the only one in Georgia founded by African Americans. Kevin James, the college’s interim president, told New Birth’s congregation Sunday that Morris Brown was approved Friday as a higher learning institution by the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission. He called it a “major step” toward accreditation.  “When you lose your accreditation, you close,” James said during the Sunday service. “But for some reason, for the past 17 years, Morris Brown College has been able to survive. We will be the first historically black college in history ... since 1837 to actually come back and be fully accredited under these circumstances.”   Kanye West visited New Birth Sept. 15 for a popup Sunday performance as a part of his “Sunday Service” series. Lines waiting outside New Birth began forming several hours before the service. RELATED: Kanye West brings ‘Sunday Service’ to Atlanta West has been making such appearances on Sundays this year, including one in Dayton, Ohio, to help that community in the wake of a mass shooting and on Easter Sunday to bring a message of faith to those attending the music festival Coachella. The announcement from New Birth came a day after West brought his Sunday Service series to Howard University, a prestigious HBCU in Washington, D.C.  It also came weeks after West defended his endorsement of President Donald Trump, whose support of HBCUs has been mixed.  MORE: HBCUs and Trump: up and down relationship “I went into prayer, and it dawned in me in prayer that Dr. Donda West, who was the mother of Kanye West, is a former professor at Morris Brown College,” New Birth’s Bryant said during Sunday’s service.  Donda West started her teaching career at Morris Brown College as an English instructor in the 1970s, and later became the department chair, according to an obituary. “I know what Dr. Donda West represented while at Morris Brown, and her mind for African American literature, was to empower, equip and engage students to be something radical that can change community and change society,” Bryant said.  In other news: