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Hurricane season tip: Now is the time to vet contractors

Hurricanes are part of life in Florida. While there aren't any predicted for the near future, this is a perfect time to review some tips about what you need to look for in a contractor if your property sustains damage during a major storm. Contractors are extremely busy after a hurricane, so this is a time when unscrupulous individuals try to make a quick dollar by preying on desperate homeowners.

One thing that you need to be prepared for is that you might not be able to get multiple bids in the aftermath of a hurricane. Some contractors, especially reputable ones, might not be able to provide "shopping around" bids. With this in mind, you might consider asking family members and friends for recommendations now. If you have any projects to complete soon, you can use these to build a relationship with a contractor.

Another factor to remember after a hurricane is that contractors are going to be working far into the future. For the most part, a contractor who hasn't worked with you before shouldn't be able to promise a rapid project completion date. That's especially true if you didn't contact them immediately when the winds and rain began to die down. Plus, a reputable contractor knows that your home will need to dry out prior to repairs because even a slight dampness in the frame before sheetrock goes up can lead to serious problems in the future.

Finally, double check the licensing, insurance, and bonding of the contractor. If you do have issues with the contractor you hire, you might have legal options to help you rectify the situation.

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