With equal parts of excitement and foreboding, renovating a room or an entire home is an adventure you go on with a contractor. Once you’ve narrowed down your selection to one particular company, it’s time to dive into contractual agreements. Although you may not be comfortable with legal wording, it’s critical to understand the terms you’re agreeing to.
Kitchen remodel in progress.
Summarize the details
One of the largest sections of the contract should be the scope of work. It will be narrowed down into room portions, such as “Bathroom 1″ or “Bedroom 2.” Each item to be replaced, repaired, or altered should be listed in this area. Read over it entirely to avoid any future conflict. If there’s a room or part missing, such as painting a bathroom, point it out to the contractor. An amended contract will need to be written up.
You want all the payment information written in the contract to include as much detail as possible. Reputable contractors typically ask for a percentage — usually 10 percent — of the total cost upfront. They’ll require payments throughout the project, from once a month to every quarter, depending on the size of the renovation. If you don’t agree to all the terms, discuss them with the contractor before signing. They may have a particular financial need to cover, such as purchasing expensive granite for the kitchen, that requires a higher payment than others in the terms.
A house’s exterior getting remodeled.
Those small details
Every detail of the actual renovation process could be in the contract, but everyday details are often left out. Discuss where the workers will take breaks on the property and whether they’ll use your bathrooms, for instance. It’s these little details that can bother you over time if they aren’t covered contractually. Specifically, discuss where heavy machinery needs to park during work and after hours. Many yards are damaged without contractual information about proper machinery positioning.
Times and dates
Both you and the contractor have schedules to maintain, so it’s important to add that information into the contract. Include start and end dates in the contract along with any amendments. (Rain, snow, and other natural events may prolong the project in the winter, for example.) Add in daily work hours for the contractor as well. You don’t want them showing up on Saturday at 5 A.M. turning on the jackhammer. Both of these time elements keep everyone comfortable on the job site with reduced labor from improper scheduling.
The renovation may look spectacular, but there could be a lot of tools and materials littering your yard, driveway, and garage. Make sure the contract stipulates who cleans up after the project. Some contractors assume the customer cleans up, including hauling away heavy debris. Go over all the specifics about clean up to avoid any conflicts. Heavy debris is expensive to remove on your own.
The majority of contractors are relatively trustworthy, mainly because they want to work with you again in the future and they’d like you to refer them to your friends and neighbors. However, any questions about wording or contractual changes can be brought to a lawyer’s attention. They can look over the information to verify both parties’ responsibilities. Lawyers may only charge you for the one visit, making the fee worth it for your project. You’ll be able to have the project work out the way you want with the right price.
Regardless of your project’s scope, all contracts need to be agreed upon by both parties before any remodeling work can start. When everyone knows their limits, true progress can occur on a job site. You’ll find the project completed to your liking with possible new work in the future.