Hail repair warning for homeowners

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PHOENIX - Fifteen minutes worth of hail did some serious damage to one northwest Phoenix neighborhood. No homeowners are learning the hard way which contractor to trust to do the repairs.

From broken windows, to dented garage doors, to roof repairs, it seems now almost every home in the neighborhood needs some type of work.

“The whirly birds, the vents up on the roof, they're just destroyed,” Ed Pearlman said.

Front doors are covered with flyers, some soliciting business, others warning you to stay away from certain contractors.

Pearlman said he learned that lesson the hard way.

“I said so you're licensed and bonded? Absolutely. In Arizona? Absolutely,” he recalled.

Pearlman owns 11 homes in the Cactus Road and I-17 area.

His damages total more than $100,000.

He said a contractor showed up in his neighborhood and offered him a deal to make the repairs.

The contractor also said it would take over negotiations with the insurance company.

It would also keep all the claim money.

“He told me the adjusters are not on my side,” Pearlman said.

The cost of the service was to be $1,500.

But, the fee is waived if all work is contracted to the company.

“So, I signed it,” he said.

But not long after, Pearlman read the fine print.

“And I got a little nervous because it says if that if they are not able to do the work they were going to sub it out to a contractor of their choice,” he said.

Worried about the quality of work he would get, Pearlman took advantage of a clause in the contract allowing him to cancel.

“Just by luck I think. But, I'm very relieved and I feel bad for people that didn't get as lucky,” he said.

Pearlman's insurance company is now paying for all the damages, and allowing him to pick the contractor.

He plans on researching different companies deciding which to hire, and has this advice for neighbors in need of repairs.

“Talk to your insurance company first and then when you're selecting your contractor, find somebody that's in the phoenix yellow pages,” he suggested. “They've been here, they didn't just pop up last month.”

Experts recommend shopping around before hiring a contractor. Get written estimates from at least three people.

Request a list of references and check them before hiring them.

Never be rushed into making a decision. Most reputable contractors won't pressure you into hiring them.

You can find out whether a contractor is licensed by looking them up through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

You can also check them out through the Arizona Roofing Contractor’s Association.