image odle close north salemIt’s important to find a reliable home improvement contractor. All home improvement contractors in Westchester must be licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection. Read the law and general tips on how to select a contractor and search for a licensed contractor. Consumer Protection frequently updates its list of "renegade renovators," who have a long complaint history. You can also learn how to file a consumer complaint if you come up against problems with your contractor.

Homeowners shouldn't overlook the programs offered by Westchester County to assist with home improvement costs. If you meet the criteria, you may qualify for assistance.

How can I contact the Better Business Bureau?
Better Business Bureau – Mid Hudson

150 White Plains Road – Suite 107
Tarrytown, New York 10591

Where can I get information on energy efficiency and conservation for my home?
A number of Web resources, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and Home Energy Magazine, provide helpful information. The U.S. Dept.of Energy provides a Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy. Some of the information you'll find:

  • Energy conservation and efficiency programs
  • Information on the ENERGY STAR program which reduces energy use through the use of efficient energy products such as lights and appliances
  • Weatherization assistance and solar energy systems
  • Financial programs to assist with the costs of home energy audits and to help pay for home energy efficiencies
  • New York Energy Smart Loan Fund to help pay for energy improvements

Low Income homeowners may also be eligible for Weatherization Assistance Program which provides for energy related improvements such as weather-stripping and caulking; repair or replacement of heating systems, doors and windows; insulation to walls and ceilings; and other minor repairs to ensure energy efficiency.

Additional resources
The Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP), sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field, is designed to give consumers and businesses information they need to make use of the federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and subsequently amended several times.

Con Edison
Theodore Fremd Avenue
Rye, New York 10580
Tel: (800) 75-CONED (1-800-752-6633)

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
17 Columbus Circle
Albany, New York 12203
Tel: (518) 862-1090

Are there any additional home improvement programs?

The programs below are primarily home purchase programs but contain financing options for home improvements and repairs.

Hudson Valley Home Ownership and Revitalization: This program provides first-time home buyers with $25,000 in program funds for acquisition and renovation of an identified property. There are income eligibility limits for this program. A minimum of $12,750 must be used for renovation or repairs of the property. “Repairs” are defined as those which will prolong the useful life of a home or shall correct structural defects or the repair of basic building systems that affect health and safety of the homeowner.

Home Ownership Initiative: First time homebuyers can apply to receive up to $25,000 for the purchase of a house, condominium or cooperative. At least $1,000 must be used for repairs to improve the housing quality standards of the purchased property. The assistance is in the form of a deferred forgivable loan that has recapture provisions.

Are there any city- or town-specific home improvement programs?
Its best to check with your city or town for up to date information. Here are a few:

Yonkers - Home Improvement Loan Program
This program is designed to assist city residents correct health, safety and code violations, provide energy conservation and certain exterior repairs to homes. Income and program guidelines are determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

City of Yonkers
Department of Community Development
40 South Broadway
Yonkers, NY 10701
Tel: (914)377-6000

White Plains - Community Development Rehabilitation Program
This loan program is available to homeowners in White Plains for the purpose of eliminating health or safety hazards as well as preventative maintenance projects. Repair projects may include roofing, replacement windows, boilers, carpentry, drainage, siding heating, plumbing and electrical upgrades.

City of White Plains
Department of Planning
255 Main Street
White Plains, New York 10601
Tel: (914) 422-1264

City of Peekskill - Department of Planning
City of Peekskill
Department of Planning
840 Main Street
Peekskill, New York 10566
Tel: (914)737-3400

New Rochelle - Department of Community Development
City of New Rochelle
Department of Community Development
515 North Avenue
New Rochelle, New York 10801
Phone: (914) 654-2000

Mount Vernon
City of Mount Vernon
1 Roosevelt Square
Mount Vernon, New York 10550
Tel: (914) 665-2300