DES PLAINES, Ill. -- As many East Coast shore residents who faced down Sandy in October were still reeling from the costs of home repair, a major blizzard struck the Northeast region two weeks ago, paralyzing the area and causing more difficulty for already struggling homeowners. They've seen their share of adjusters and price-gouging contractors coming at them from all over the country. The National Remodeling Foundation (NRF) is offering tips for these frustrated homeowners who need guidance navigating the home repair and insurance process.

"Some companies took advantage of people and overcharged the amount it would cost for a job," says John Quaregna, owner of Jay-Cue Construction Co., Inc., in North Bergen, N.J., vice president, NRF, and a New Jersey shore homeowner. "Homeowners paid up front believing they would get money back from their insurance company only to learn that they wouldn't be receiving enough to cover the costs of repairs as well as their home's contents."

There are still 42,000 homeless families, Quaregna says, who are staying in hotels or with family or friends. One way to help them get back into their homes is to make sure they get to the right professionals. Let property owners know they should:

Hire a reputable company to mitigate the home's water damage and mold.

Look for red flags, including: door-to-door solicitations from out-of-state companies or contractors who aren't easily located; aggressive contractors who want a contract signed "right now;" asking the homeowner to pull permits; etc.

Receive an accurate report from the insurance company stating the scope of work and the amount of money to be paid for the claim. It is preferable to receive the insurance disbursement for the claim from the insurer prior to work being done.

Speak with the insurance company – preferably with a professional contractor at their side – if they are not happy with the amount of money they receive. Many adjusters come from different parts of the country and don't necessarily know material and labor costs in the area.

Make sure the contractor is licensed and holds all required insurance in the city and state where the work is to be performed. Look on the websites of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry ( or the National Association of Home Builders ( for reputable and ethical remodeling professionals in their area.

The National Remodeling Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, tax-exempt ID number: 54-1595911. The NRF's mission to answer the call to humanitarian aid and to advance the level of professionalism within and provide a clearinghouse of information regarding the remodeling industry. Please visit the Foundation's website, , or contact the office, 847-477-6586.

SOURCE The National Remodeling Foundation


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