Don’t Get Scammed: 9 Home Remodeling Gimmicks

The old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” We see many scams and shady business practices in the home remodeling business. Many fly-by-night companies swoop in with incredible offers, only to do a shoddy job and leave the homeowner holding the bag.

At Weather Tight, we’ve been around for a long time. We know that trust is earned. That’s why we go the extra mile to explain details and make sure your experience is even better than expected. Unfortunately, with other exterior upgrade companies, this isn’t always the case.

Here are 9 major red flags to watch out for when working with a home remodeler.

A man and woman argue during a home renovation project. The woman is leaning against a table with a distressed look on her face, looking at an open laptop while the man gestures with frustration towards her. A ladder and construction tools are seen in the background.

9 Common Home Remodeling Gimmicks

If you’re planning a home remodeling project, especially one involving replacement windows, doors, siding, or roofing, it’s crucial to be aware of the common misleading tactics companies use to secure your business.

No matter what remodeling company you work with, it’s essential to go in with a healthy sense of skepticism. Protect yourself from scams and gimmicks to ensure your investment in your home pays off in the long run.

1. Too-Good-to-Be-True Pricing

Home remodeling is an investment; beware of pricing that seems unusually low compared to other quotes (and yes, that means it’s a good idea to get multiple quotes). Too-good-to-be-true pricing often means the company has hidden fees that will come up “unexpectedly” down the road. It can also mean that they’ve cut corners with subpar materials. Companies may also use too-low pricing to get you hooked into an agreement and then upsell you on necessary upgrades once you’re locked in.

While surprises can happen during installation, we make every effort to give you a transparent estimate well before the job begins. We will update you along the way and get your approval for any necessary changes so you don’t experience sticker shock when you get the bill. We respect a tight budget and want to help you plan for success.

2. High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Deals come and go, but many companies use high-pressure sales tactics to rope you into an agreement. They may insist a deal is only available if you commit immediately. They may be vague about commitments or pressure you to decide right away.

At Weather Tight, we always meet with all homeowners (even spouses) to ensure everyone is on the same page during a job. Our free in-home estimate won’t come with high pressure. Sometimes, you may need to explore financing options or wait for funds. You can rest assured that we want you to feel confident in your informed decisions.

3. Over-the-Top Guarantees

In the home remodeling business, many products offer a long-term guarantee. Some guarantees and warranties may cover products for a lifetime or as long as you own your home. Others may transfer to new homeowners for a set period.

For the most part, guarantees and warranties are a sign of quality and confidence in a great product. It’s essential, however, to read the fine print. If guarantees are ambiguous or seem too good to be true, make sure that you ask questions, so you don’t face a problem later.

4. Too Much Focus on Aesthetics

Almost any new product will initially improve the look of your home. New windows, doors, or roofing are beautiful when installed. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the aesthetic appeal of a product and overlook the quality. High-pressure salespeople will talk a lot about beauty but not offer substance.

While the look of your new home improvement is important, of course, be wary of companies that focus too heavily on how great a product will look while downplaying the questions of quality. Ask about and compare crucial factors like energy efficiency, durability, and warranty terms.

5. No Company History or High Employee Turnover

Home renovations are a significant investment and commitment. You want to work with a company that you can trust. Many home improvement businesses pop up seemingly overnight in popular markets. They may make big promises and undercut the market with inferior products. By the time homeowners realize it, the company is gone.

Look for a company with happy employees who are invested in its success (at Weather Tight, we’re proud to be employee-owned). Check the company history—have they been in the area for several years, preferably decades? Have you heard their name before? We’re proud to be Wisconsin’s most recommended home remodeler, and we know that reputation has taken years to build.

6. Unverifiable Credentials or Endorsements

Some businesses might show off dubious awards, certifications, and endorsements that are difficult (if not impossible) to verify. A reputable company should be able to produce references and endorsements from places you’ve heard of—like the Better Business Bureau, Angi, or your local news sources.

Always research the credibility of accolades or affiliations claimed by a company. A trustworthy remodeling company should be willing to share local jobs so you can drive by and check them out. They should offer product samples and have a showroom you can visit (ours is in West Allis).

7. Demanding Full Payment First

In this business, a deposit is standard. Typically, the deposit covers a portion of the product and job, with the rest due at completion. It’s a big red flag if a contractor asks for the full payment or asks for you to pay them in cash before a job begins.

You would think that no one would fall for these types of gimmicks, but unfortunately, many shady companies can be pretty convincing. Today, it’s easy to put together a relatively polished website and professional-looking brochures. Listen to your gut, especially if someone wants you to pay the full amount right now, before the job starts.

8. Cheap Materials

Some companies cut corners by using cheap materials on the job while charging you for the premium ones. You may see high-quality samples and demos, but when the product arrives at your home for installation, the color or material seems “off.”

Don’t hesitate to ask your home remodeling company if something seems off. The materials specified in your contract should be consistent with what was promised. Mistakes in communication can happen, but a good company will work with you to resolve your concerns and ensure you’re satisfied with the outcome.

9. Free Home Inspection Scams

Some home remodeling companies perform a fairly common gimmick: They offer a free “professional home inspection” by a contractor, often claiming they’re looking for ways to make your home appeal to potential buyers. These inspections frequently uncover many “unexpected” problems that lead to costly repairs and replacements (which they conveniently sell).

While you may want guidance on prioritizing home remodeling repairs, most homeowners generally have a good idea of what they’re looking for. When you work with Weather Tight, you get a free in-home consultation, which not only includes an inspection of the home areas you want to improve but also transparent solutions and pricing. Of course, we can encounter unexpected issues like wood rot during a job, but we’ll bring it to your attention and decide the best way to proceed together.

Choose a Company You Trust

At Weather Tight, we know that reputation is everything in this business. We’ve built long-term relationships with our customers throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. We’re employee-owned and have been in business since 1986.

We have over 34,000+ satisfied customers. If you want to join them, reach out today for a no-pressure estimate. We’ll help you get the home of your dreams with a home improvement investment you can trust.