Recent flooding has left many homeowners with damage that needs quick repair, but before hiring a professional, be careful. “We recommend that people seek out a local person who specializes in restoring and remediating what is called, well, flooding, and also mold, because these professionals know how to act quickly, so that you no longer have damage to your home,” says Cinthya Lavin, vice president of communications for the Better Business Bureau, or BBB.

The BBB warns of scammers who often hang around after a drama. “Be very careful of anyone who comes knocking at your door. Because, just like in hurricanes, people come from other cities, other states, posing as government officials, FEMA, from the Red Cross and who are going to help him with whatever problems he has. And if you haven’t checked that person, you may be letting a criminal into your home,” Lavin warns.

While they recommend against rushing to hire a professional to properly review your history, you should take steps to safely mitigate your loss, such as turning off your water, removing the contents of your home to a dry location, and covering your roof with a tarp, but only if it can be done safely.

The BBB says you don’t have to wait for insurance to dry out the house or hire a specialist to do it, especially if you have health issues. “People with respiratory and autoimmune diseases are most at risk, because of all the mold that can occur after a flood. That’s why we advise people to act quickly when restoring their homes,” says Lavin.

The BBB and the Consumer Product Commission advise against using appliances and other electronics that have gotten wet during the flood. “Be very careful when connecting things. If your house has been flooded, well, there may be internal damage that you can’t see, so wait for a professional to help you with the restoration, because you can cause a fire by connecting things,” warns Lavin.

The BBB says when hiring a professional, review the contract carefully, ask for copies, and don’t give them all the money up front. If they ask you for all the money before starting the works, it can be a sign that they are not legit.

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