By Kelly Quigley
The contract is a critical step in any remodeling project; it holds the job together and ensures that all parties agree to the same vision and scope.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry spells out the following key elements that every remodeling contract should have:
1. The contractor's name, address, phone number, and license number.
2. Details on what the contractor will and will not do.
3. A list of materials for the project in your contract. This includes information about the size, color, model, brand name, and product.
4. The approximate start date and completion date.
5. All required plans. Study them carefully for accuracy. Insist that you approve them and that they are identified in your written contract before any work begins.
6. Written notice of your right to, without penalty, cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
7. Financial terms, spelled out in a way that you understand. This includes the total price, payment schedule, and any cancellation penalty.
8. A binding arbitration clause, which you'll need in the event a disagreement occurs. Arbitration may enable you to resolve disputes without costly litigation.
9. Everything you've requested. Consider the scope of the project and make sure all items you've requested are included. If you do not see a specific item in the contract, consider it not included. Never sign an incomplete contract.
10. A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year. The warranty must be identified as either "full" or "limited." The name and address of the party who will honor the warranty (contractor, distributor, or manufacturer) must be identified. Make sure the time period for the warranty is specified.
Published: April 2009 REALTOR magazine
Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.