Saturday, January 15, 2011

Clear Verbal Communication & Detailed Written Contracts Can Prevent Home Improvement Nightmares

Before starting major home improvements or modifications, you must build a solid foundation with clear communication, both verbally and with a written contract. A thoroughly detailed contract goes a long way in making sure that you and your contractor understand what work is to be done and what it will cost.

Your well-written and detailed contract should specify:

• All the work the contractor has estimated to perform and all the materials the contractor will use, including the quality, grade and brand of each material. Who will pay for said materials. If you have a set of plans, is the price layed out according to these plans?
• When the work will start and end with any possible, projected delays.
• Who is in charge of getting any necessary permits from the city or county. (Most people prefer the contractor to do this.) The cost of the permit and time involved in obtaining said permit(s) will be included in the bid.
• How and when you will pay for the work. A thoroughly outlined payment schedule with payments matching work performed.

Be sure that everything you’ve agreed to is written down, including any guarantees on the quality of work. If you don’t understand any of these items, ask a remodeling coach or attorney to go over the contract. Or, better yet, have that conversation with your contractor.

Also, before you sign any home improvement contract, it’s smart to find out what legal protections you have if things go wrong. Can you fire your contractor and under what conditions? This may vary from state to state.

Check the laws in your state. Be sure to get a copy of everything you sign and keep it in a file specified for this project.
What You Don’t Want
• Don’t approve any plans or blueprints unless you understand them.
• Never sign a contract with any blanks or that you do not understand.

If any of this is confusing or you would like more details, call me and allow me to unstick it for you.

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