If you walk inside Kim Shellem's Wylie home, you'd think a hail storm came through overnight.
Broken windows, a damaged roof and shattered light fixtures.
"The light here got busted up. Everybody around here has had their houses fixed and I'm the eyesore," she said. "Pretty soon it's going to be a year since the storm and my house is still looking like this."
Shellem's insurance company assessed the home, estimating more than $22,000 in damage. Next step: find a contractor.
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"I didn't know how to find somebody to help me," she said.
Contrators in the area were swamped, with 80 percent of the homes and businesses in Wylie were damaged.
"A guy who works with me said maybe his father can help," Shellem said.
Shawn Messick assured her he could get the job done. But he said he's old fashioned and believes in keeping his word. He said a contract wouldn't be necessary
"All he kept telling me was don't worry, he can take care of everything. It was like a load off," she said.
When her first insurance check came, Shellem cashed it and gave the money to the contractor who started on the fence.
"After that, he said he didn't have enough money for the roof left because he did the fence," she said. "It's been downhill ever since then."
Shellem said her floors and door were improperly installed. An even bigger let down: her roof and windows haven't been touched
"I'm so mad," she said. "I trusted him to do this work."
Shellum said the contractor made several excuses and blamed sub-contractors for the delay.
"He keeps telling me 'Be patient, be patient,'" she said. "But he's not sitting here with windows busted out."
We reached out to Shawn Messick to get his side of the story. He wrote:
"The glass and window businesses are beyond backed up....I have paid the window guy his $2,932.41."
Messick said he and the installer tried coordinating a time to meet with Shellem, but Shellem was unresponsive. Shellem said that's not true.
"He basically said he had to use the money on some of the other houses he was fixing," she said.
Messick admitted to using some of her money on other houses. He also admitted the floors weren't properly installed.
We asked Shawn Messick for his official business name, his response: "I am an individual." After checking with the Secretary of State's Office, we couldn't find any businesses registered under his name.
"All I have is the card and his word," Shellem said. "I feel like an idiot."
Loy Vicker with the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters says contractors dong business in Texas are required to register with the Secretary of State. But unlike some states, roofers are not required to be personally licensed in Texas.
"You don't know who's coming to your door," he said. "You don't know if they have insurance. You don't know what kind of roof they're putting on."
In response to this dilemma, organizations across the state have stepped up to provide consumers with vetted, experienced contractors. It's a learning lesson for Kim Shellem who is still trying to get her roof, and windows fixed.
"I do wish I did things differently," she said.
If another big storm hits and your home is damaged, here's what you need to do:
- Contact your home insurance company. They'll send out an adjuster.
- You also may want to hire a public insurance adjuster. They work on behalf of the insured, not the insurance company, and can give you an unbiased damage estimate. You may be charged a fee or percentage for the service.
- Next step is hiring a contractor. Organizations that provide vetted industry professional in North Texas are NARI, NTRCA and MyTapia.