Oakville Real Estate News

Going 'Under The Table' Not Worth The Risk


Blog by Joette Fielding | October 27th, 2014


Going Under The Table Not Worth The RiskVanessa Roman is host of HGTV's Reno vs Relocate

One recent weekend while having fun at a friend’s house, the conversation naturally turned towards the real estate market and home renovation projects in general – it happens when you invite me to a party – and this sparked an interesting debate among the party-goers about who to hire for a home renovation project. 

The debate began when one couple – I’ll call them the Diligent Dillons - described their plans to build a large, multi-tiered deck complete with built-in fire pit and surround bench-style seating. They diligently researched local construction companies, interviewed several contractors personally to assess their skill sets, see samples of previously completed projects, reviewed their WCB and other liability insurance documents and called the client references supplied by the contractors. 

In the end, the Dillon’s received four quotes for the job outlining in detail the scope of work, materials to be used, timeline and final cost. They reviewed all of the estimates and had selected one company to work with. They were excited for work to begin and filled with confidence that it would be done right and on budget. In my mind, the Dillions did everything right and I applauded their thoroughness. 

But not everyone at the party agreed; “Barry Bargain” had a deck of his own built the previous summer which he was very happy with and thought the quotes the Dillon’s received were too high. He promised to put them in touch with ‘his guy’ the following day who worked for only for cash so his prices were always better. Off the bat, Barry Bargain promised the Dillons would save the taxes – unlike the rest of us, cash construction workers don’t bother paying such things as income taxes - and likely plenty more because the cash guy’s overhead was a lot less so he passed those savings onto his customers.

And so the debate began. On one side we had the Bargain Barrys who thought the least expensive price was the way to go and on the other side, we had the Diligent Dillons who thought the highest quality craftsmanship was the best route. 

The reality is when homeowners hire individuals who work ‘under the table’ they take huge financial risks which can far outweigh any supposed savings being offered. Cash jobs do not come with receipts; this lack of paperwork means the homeowner has no recourse if something goes wrong before, during or after construction is complete. There will be no warranty on any of the materials used, no guarantee of quality workmanship, and if any of the workers were to be injured while on the property the homeowner will be solely liable for any claims brought forth.

And let’s not forget the damage caused to local business owners when workers are hired for cash jobs. These legitimate business owners - who create employment, have liability insurance coverage and make investments within the community – can’t complete with the rock bottom prices being offered by the individuals who work for cash. 

It is natural for us all to want to save money, but the old adage “You get what you pay for” resonates with me every time I hear someone describe a home renovation project which was done by someone somewhere, who knew a guy, who worked for cash. 

Sadly, I am not sure if any of the Bargain Barry types were swayed during our backyard debate. The one or two stories about successful cash construction projects seemed to far outweigh the many arguments us Diligent Dillon types brought up against the practice. 

As homeowners it is our right and privilege to have the opportunity to make autonomous choices when deciding who to hire for a home renovation project. For me, I will always choose to hire qualified professionals because I place the highest value on having a house which is structurally sound and safe to live in because it protects priceless assets: my family.  


Excerpt taken from http://www.torontosun.com


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