The estimated tab for Hurricane Irene's fury is already in the billions of dollars. If you're among those who have property damage, proceed with caution -- you don't want to get hit again, this time by home repair
companies that jack up their prices, do a poor job
, or walk away before the work is finished.
The Better Business Bureau is warning Americans about fly-by-night bogus contractors
, "storm chasers" and door-to-door salespeople peddling dubious deals that may cost homeowners thousands of dollars and create serious headaches. If you've suffered storm damage, you're probably feeling a strong sense of urgency to deal with it -- but if you can, take your time. Right now, there are a ton of people just like you, looking for help. Trouble is, some of the best contractors
are probably already booked with jobs
that began long before Irene. And others are going to be snapped up quickly by your fellow storm survivors, so good help might be harder to find than you would anticipate.
Run from any contractor who uses high pressure sales tactics or requires full payment upfront, as well as any one who requires you to get the necessary permits.
How will you know a storm chaser? They appear uninvited at your doorstep, often in unmarked trucks, according to the BBB. Don't be surprised if they ask for big bucks up front and promise you the moon. Say no thank you politely, and close the door.
Get the full story
to learn how to steer clear of scams.
For more home improvement tips
and advice, see these AOL Real Estate