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San Carlos Real Estate August 15, 2012

Contractor’s License Check.

by Chuck Gillooley

Remodeling Projects Abound.

Now that the economy seems to be headed toward the general direction of recovery, and money is flowing back into the local economy, remodeling projects are starting to appear again in San Carlos.   I was showing property in Burlingame the other day and was astounded at the number of full-scale remodeling projects that were underway up there.  It seemed like there was at least one on every block.   It’s starting to feel like early the early 2000’s again.

The prolonged recession was particularly hard on contractors, real estate agents, and anyone else who was self-employed or unemployed (sometimes there is no difference between the two.)  And not everyone escaped unscathed from the difficulties they encountered in the slumping economy.

I found that out the hard way recently.

Check the Licenses.

A friend and White Oaks resident recently asked me for a recommendation for a roofing contractor for  a very straightforward roof replacement.  As I normally do, I provided them with a handful of contacts that and I advised them to interview all three before making a decision.    One particular company seemed to have the best reviews, the most glowing referrals from my colleagues, and ultimately provided the best price to my friend.  So they felt comfortable awarding the project to this particular roofing company.

When a problem occurred on the job with one of their subcontractors, my client played a hunch and decided to investigate the roofing company’s contractor’s  license.  He discovered that their license had been revoked a few months prior, and that the company was on very thin financial ice, so to speak.  Worse, they outright lied about it when asked.    Uh-oh…

Ultimately, the roof job was inspected and given the thumbs up by a reputable roofing inspector, but my friend is still dealing with the residual issue that happened during the project.      The moral here?   A simple check of the contractor’s license before starting the project would have flagged the fact that this company was having problems — despite the fact that there was no reason to suspect anything in advance since they were ultra-responsive, and had great references.

Where to Look.

So where do you check for the status of a contractor’s license?  Luckily, the California State License Board website has a handy page where you can check the license status of any contractor.  The data that you get is not all that comprehensive, but at least if there seems to be a problem with the contractor’s license, you can address it with him before you decide to move forward – not after it’s too late.

Here’s the link to that page:  California Contractor’s License Check.

On the subject of license status, what about your Realtor?   How do you know if your Realtor is actually licensed and in good standing with the state?   There’s a page for that one too:  California Realtor License Check.     On this page you’ll find when your Realtor got their original license, and what the status is of their license.  It will also flag if any disciplinary action has been taken against them.    Like the contractor’s site, there’s not a lot of data here, but there’s enough for you to ask all of the right questions if something doesn’t look right.

So don’t be afraid to do your homework and ask the tough questions before you proceed down the path with your contractor or Realtor.    Getting glowing references is great, but don’t forget to check those licenses.
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