CA law limits the down payment amount for home improvements.

As I drive around the Palos Verdes Peninsula and through the coastal beach cities of Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo I am seeing lots of home improvement trucks parked along the streets.  It appears the spring sprucing up season arrived early!  From major construction to landscaping and painting the home improvement movement is alive and well in the South Bay of Los Angeles.

A word of caution before you sign on the dotted line and make a deposit on work to be completed.  In California it is illegal for a contractor to ask for or accept a down payment of more than 10 percent of the total home improvement contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.  Never pay for materials before they are delivered to the property.  In addition, make sure the written contract contains a progress payment schedule that outlines project phases with all costs and estimated completion dates.

Information from California Association of Realtors per The Contractors State License Board (CSLB).  More helpful tips on hiring contractors can be found on the CSLB website:  cslb.cal.gov.