Part 8: Remodeling Contracts and You

Contracts can be a scary thing. When you get one, you read over it. You have your lawyers read over it. Then, you have your lawyers’ lawyers read over it. You may even ask your dog to sniff it in case he senses anything “off”. Then, and only then, you may just be ready to sign.

Yes, lots of legal jargon and the designation of contractual obligations can be a bit overwhelming at first sight, but trust me, they’re more of a friend than they are a foe – especially when you’re remodeling your home.

A remodeling contract should detail several things:

  • The scope of work (whether specified through drawings or a set of specifications or a combination of the two; it’s also nice if the contract specifies what date the plans and specifications were last revised to make sure you aren’t working off of an old set)
  • The contract price of the work specified
  • How change orders are to be handled and billed
  • The builder’s responsibilities (i.e. permits and paying subcontractors and vendors)
  • Insurance covered by the builder
  • Warranty provided by the builder
  • The homeowner’s responsibilities (i.e. payments, providing access to the home, removing any furniture or possessions in the area to be remodeled).

In plain English, the contract sets the “playing rules”. Without these rules, you might as well be playing basketball blindfolded with a lacrosse stick.

It may seem like a lot of reading, signing, and initialing, but ultimately, the contract is an extremely important document that not only protects your builder, but your family and home as well. If you’re confused by any wording or clauses, take some time to discuss it with your contractor. They’ll know the in’s and out’s of what they’re asking you to sign, and if they don’t, take that as your cue to leave.

Continue to Part 9: The Price Is Right

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