14 May Tips To Avoid Renovation Scams
You have just gotten the keys to your new home, and are planning to conduct home renovations. Before you begin, you need to select an interior designer and/or contractor of your choice. Costs, design, and professionalism are major factors to consider but is that enough?
In recent years, there are increasing cases of renovation scams. Rogue contractors or interior designers can easily set up a company and advertise its services through various platforms and offer irresistible renovation packages. Well, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Read on to find out how you can minimise risks of encountering renovation scams:
Conduct background checks
With fake reviews and internet troll, it is more important than ever to do a background check on the interior designer or contractor you are in discussion with. Besides checking out forums and relevant Facebook pages for reviews, you can now conduct background checks on Singapore entities at Lifestylze Buddy website.
Thanks to Lifestylze Buddy, running a background check is easy and you get instantaneous results. They provide information such as entity status, number of years in operation, paid-up capital, any known consumer or investor alerts, any known complaints and other relevant data. The best part? Lifestylze Buddy is free to use and designed to be user-friendly.
Conduct free company check @ www.lifestylzebuddy.com
Look beyond the shiny surface
Before you get impressed with awards and accreditations, you should be aware that many awards displayed by companies were neither handed out by industry associations nor officially endorsed by government bodies. Do not place too much emphasis on awards unless they are backed by the relevant government bodies, industry associations or organisations with good credibility.
For example, a company with the award displaying “Super Enterprise” would not mean a thing if the award is not widely recognised.
Below are some awards that are backed by Government bodies:
- Singapore Quality Class
- Singapore SME 100
- Businessman of the Year
- The Enterprise Award
Identify red flags
Home renovation can be a source of anxiety for new homeowners who are paying a large sum of money upfront. Many cases have surfaced in recent years where interior designers went “missing” after homeowners paid upfront or placed a high deposit amount. In case you are wondering, there seems to be a pattern where services are offered at low costs within a tight timeframe to entice homeowners to pay higher-than-usual deposit amount. Take caution if the quotation price is much lower than usual or if the deposit request is higher than industry rate. This was what a couple faced back in 2016 when their interior designer disappeared with $63,000. It’d do good to keep in mind the popular saying: “you get what you pay for. Also, note that payment for home renovations is usually carried out in phases. If you are asked to make full payment, be wary.
Due diligence for your dream home
In 2017, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) reported that the amount of prepayment loss has more than tripled from S$1m in 2014 to S$3.6m in 2016. As of the first half of 2017, the amount stood at S$1.8m. The marketplace is becoming more challenging for consumers to manoeuvre in the recent years. Scams come in various forms when you least expect it.
Therefore, prudent checks on companies are essential when you are parting with a large sum of money to make upfront payment or deposit for a product/service that you will not receive immediately in return. Doing your due diligence can help you to minimise the risk of losing your hard-earned money, and ensuring your dream home does not turn into a renovation nightmare. On a related note, do check out Etiqa ePROTECT home insurance, which provides coverage of up to S$50,000 for renovation and home contents, 24/7 emergency home assistance and more!
Committed to placing people over policies, Etiqa is a Singapore insurance company owned by Maybank Ageas Holdings. Maybank Ageas is a joint venture between Maybank Group–the fourth largest Banking group in Southeast Asia with more than 22 million customers across 20 countries worldwide, and Ageas –one of Europe’s largest insurance companies with 33 million customers across 16 countries and a history of over 180 years.
Protecting more than 300,000 homes in Singapore since 1961, Etiqa is best known as the appointed insurer for the Singapore Housing Development Board (HDB) Fire Insurance Scheme. Etiqa also provides comprehensive life and general insurance solutions with affordable and transparent insurance premiums. These include motor insurance (including motorcycle insurance), travel insurance, home insurance, maid insurance, personal accident insurance, insurance savings plan, retirement and legacy planning. Etiqa is one of the first insurance companies in Singapore to empower its customers with online insurance, offering innovative, customer-centric experience such as real-time travel delay insurance and usage-based car insurance.
Discover the full range of Etiqa online insurance plans: http://www.etiqa.com.sg/buy-insurance-online/
All information provided is true at the time of publishing and conditions may have changed since.
This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No 201331905K)
Protected up to specified limits by SDIC
As buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment, an early termination of the policy usually involves high costs and the surrender value, if any, that is payable to you may be zero or less than the total premiums paid.
This content is for reference only. You should seek advice from a financial adviser before deciding to purchase the policy. If you choose not to seek advice, you should consider if the policy is suitable for you. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Information is accurate as at 30 August 2019.