The economy is looking up, and that remodeling job that you’ve been putting off is at the forefront of your mind. All kinds of creative ideas are dancing in your head: colors, design, and details. Oh, what joy it will be to have that newly overhauled kitchen or that cozy outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of having.
To ensure this process does not turn into a long, painful ordeal, be sure and do your homework and hire a quality contractor. Check with friends, neighbors or family that has recently made improvements to their home. Be sure to check the contractor’s reputation sites like Angie’s list or HomeAdvisor.com including post ratings and reviews for local contractors. Get written estimates from at least three reputable firms; remember the lowest bidder is not always the best choice.
Once you find that reliable person to do the job be sure and pay attention to your contract terms and DO negotiate to include a delay clause that ties payment to completion. By doing so, you may save yourself the aggravation of extended time delays.
A professional contractor should be able to give you a reasonable estimate of the time it will take to do the job. Be fair; unforeseen problems arise so agree to pad the time allowance by tacking on another day, week, or month, depending on the size of the job. If they seem unwilling to include this clause, you may wish to seek another contractor that will.
Here are some other tips to consider:
- Obtain proof that your contractor is currently licensed and insured. Check with your local building department to find out about licensing requirements in your area and make sure your contractor is obtaining the necessary regulatory permits for your home improvement job.
- Get a lien release from the contractor; this will shield you from liability should the contractor fail to pay their subcontractors or materials acquired for the job.
- Be sure to thoroughly read your contract and negotiate any changes before the final contract is signed and the project begins. Make sure the job description is accurate and includes details such as specific materials to be used, the cost and any warranty information if applicable.
- Include a delay clause and have it tied to the payments. Negotiate payment terms that give you options to deduct or delay payment if the work goes beyond the agreed upon time frame. Be specific about amounts and define your terms. Hold the final payment at an amount that will inspire job completion. No one wants to walk away from the money they have earned.
- Include a termination clause that allows both parties to walk away without consequence should the contract be broken. Be specific, such as failure to pay, exceeding deadlines, poor quality of work, purchasing the wrong materials, etc.
By doing your homework and putting all your wishes and desires in writing, we hope you can sit back and enjoy your new renovation.
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