on in the game for a number of years now, I am blessed to have a trade contact book stuffed full of numbers. However, this time, as the “easy” buy to let property is in a new area for me – I am a little slimmer than usual for contacts.
Fortunately, as the property isn’t too far from the project I did in Stevenage, I am using many of the good contacts I made there.
However, when it came to double glazing I was pulling out a bunch of decidedly short straws. The people who came recommended from the current trades people were either on holiday or too busy to fit in my job given the quick turnaround I was looking for.
So, I did what any savvy fingered person would do and took myself off to the net – and more specifically My Builder. Now, what I like about My Builder is that you can post the details of your job and interested trades people can then contact you. The other added benefit is that you can also “invite” five companies to pitch for your job.
Which is pretty straightforward.
All the company profiles are online, along with customer reviews and so you feel some degree of comfort that you’re not picking a blind money-snaffling cowboy from the freebie paper.
However – while the company profiles are there along with customer reviews and all that gumpf – you still have to do your homework. It’s one of The Essential Rules of Property Investment (Number 74: Be sure who you’re doing business with).
Because the fact is: people lie.
And it may seem surprising because these companies could so easily be found out for making false claims – but the fact is – most customers do not check. Most people trust what they read and the claims a company makes. If a company claims to be FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) registered, you would think that company was FENSA registered.
That’s why you need to check.
Now, if you’re not a regular buyer of double glazing, I’ll let you in on a little tip: FENSA is the government authorised Competent Persons Scheme for the replacement of windows, doors and roof lights in England and Wales. That means when you choose a FENSA registered double glazing company you are offered greater protection.
And given double glazing ain’t cheap – you need all the protection you can get. Especially if you’re thinking about selling your property – because any replacement windows and doors need to comply with current building regulations. And your solicitor will ask for the certificate.
So, interestingly when I was looking to ‘short-list’ some companies to invite to quote for the job, my key priority was that they were FENSA registered.
The alarming thing was – several companies which claimed to be FENSA registered – when I checked on the actual FENSA website – were not listed as members.
Now, I don’t know enough about the ins and outs of FENSA to comment on why some companies which claimed to be members, were in fact not. But, the one thing I do know – is that not one of those companies made it onto my short-list!