One of the cardinal rules of home improvements is always to get at least two (if not three) estimates. Why? When a homeowner gets more than one estimate, then usually Mr. Market works. Oftentimes there can be a considerable variation in prices. The low price for fungible goods is usually your best value. When “big box” retail home improvement stores came on the scene in recent years (think Home Depot and Lowe’s), a whole lot of price competition got injected into the market.
For example, until recently I thought only a Pella dealer could sell Pella doors. Turns out Lowe’s sells and installs Pella doors. It is the same product and the door and installation are all warranted.
Even to this day, some home improvements are sold at the buyer’s home. In those cases, the seller must inform the buyer of your right to cancel three days after the sale. You must also receive a complete signed copy of the contract at the time of sale. Your cancellation rights must be spelled out. The contract also must be dated.
If one buys goods at a hotel, fairgrounds, convention center or restaurant, the same FTC rule applies.
I write this blog post because sometimes elderly people do not purchase goods at competitive prices. I also recall the dissent from last week’s Nebraska Supreme Court opinion about the 90 plus widow who was unable to handle her financial affairs. Her adult son admittedly made some mistakes but the result in that case was that a farm worth over one million dollars was lost because $50,000 in real estate taxes went unpaid.