10 Key Points Your Remodeling Contract Should Include

Clear  contracts make for happy homeowners and contractors!

Clear contracts make for happy homeowners and contractors!

Remodeling contracts should always be a part of every remodeling project for your home.  I know, you’ve finally chosen the contractor for your home project and you’re just itchin to start, right?  Not so fast!  Again, make sure to draw up a clear and detailed contract with your contractor; you won’t regret it!  I know because this is the “voice of experience” speaking to you!  So, below are ten KEY POINTS your contract should include.

1.  The contractor’s name, address, license number, insurance info, the approximate start and completion date.

2.  Your contract’s payment terms should be clearly outlined including the total price, payment schedule and a retention clause.  Down payments are generally 10- 30% of the total with three consecutive scheduled payments.  Alert!  Withhold the final 10-15% of the total payment until your final punch list is completed. In fact, incldue wording that allows you to call the contractor to check any problems found 30 days after completion.

3.  Your contract should include a specific and detailed description of the work to be completed in chronological order with the materials needed for your project including the quality, quantity, weight, color, size and brand names when applicable.

4.  Make sure to have clear instructions regarding the clean up, removal and disposal of debris.  The responsibility of items such as dumpsters and portable toilets should be clearly spelled out.  Bet you didn’t think of that one! You should also know who is in charge of emptying and maintaining them too!  And don’t forget to include the storage of any materials and equipment while the renovation is underway.  Who is responsible?  These are real headaches unless they’re spelled out ahead of time!

5.  Warranties for all labor and materials should always be in writing, trust me!  The warranties should clearly state what is covered and the duration of the coverage.  Don’t forget the manufacturers’ warranties either!

6.  All work should meet your city, county and state building requirements.  The contractor will provide necessary regulatory permits, arranging the required inspections and posting them on your job site.  Make sure that you are present at ALL inspections.  TIP: This is VERY important if you ever decide to sell your home!

7.  Any and all problems, questions and complaints should be in written to your contractor.  The same goes for contract changes and change orders.  They should be dated and signed by you and your contractor(s).

8.  Make sure to include a “Notice Order” which outlines NC state lien laws protecting you from any liability should the contractor fail to pay any of his subcontractors/suppliers.  It’s happened to some of my homeowners; don’t make their mistake!  Also gets should receive lien releases from all subcontractors and vendors along with a list of property owner rights and responsibilities.

9.  Don’t forget to include a termination clause that explains the reasons why you, the homeowner, or the contractor(s) can leave the property without penalty (the homeowner doesn’t make payments, there are unnecessary delays, poor workmanship, i.e.).

10. Any potential violations by either party should be clearly defined including failure of the contractor to begin or complete the project as agreed upon in the contract.

OK, getting all this info spelled out in your contract is time consuming and is a bit of a hassle but it is definitely well worth it.  As one of my remodeling contractors says, “remodeling a home is almost like a marriage”…you want to be able to put your faith and trust in the relationship knowing that there may be bumps in the road!

TAKEAWAY:  Protect yourself with a solid contract!


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