Home improvement contract tips

Read your contract carefully and make sure it includes everything in the list below.

Read your contract carefully and make sure it includes everything in the list below.

Before you launch a major home project, make sure your contract includes the following:

  • The contractor's name, address, phone, and license number, if required.
  • The payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers.
  • An estimated start and completion date.
  • The contractor's obligation to obtain all permits.
  • How change orders will be handled.
  • A detailed list of all materials including color, model, size and brand name.
  • Warranties covering materials and workmanship.
  • A "broom clause." It makes the contractor responsible for all clean-up, including spills and stains.


When the job is done, don't make final payment until you check that:

  • All work meets the standards spelled out in the contract.
  • You have proof that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.
  • The job site has been cleared of excess materials, tools and equipment.
  • You have inspected and approved the completed work.

 


More Like This

What Is a Contractor Lien Release or Subcontractor Lien Waiver?

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Remodeling project, subcontractor lien release
To ensure you don't receive a lien on your property, include a subcontractor lien waiver in your initial contract. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)

A lien from a home improvement project can be a huge hassle and it can stop you from selling your home. Learn why a waiver release should be included in your next contract.

Comments

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I live over 30 miles northwest of L.A. ... so I'm a bit concerned about finding references for services in my area.

Home improvement and hardwood floor

My house is in need of siding. Who do you recommend in Lansing, Mi?

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Lots of good advise that why I like being a angie's list service provider. I have been in the contracting business for thirty years. Our mission is to help improve the property value. Provide top quality products and it may cost more up front but the cost is long forgot when the work lasts for years. thanks john asphalt restoration and construction High Ridge, Missouri

I am planning to have the house resided, windows wrapped,a new gutter system put in, a new silding glass door and baseboard changed and painted, and two bathrooms renovated. Who looks good in Elizabethtown Ky

I just received a contract proposal that made it clear the contractor would not be responsible for any damages to my walls, floors, telephone lines, etc.--i.e., he could destroy my house at unknown cost, as long as he did the electrical work described. Is that a devil's bargain or what?

After 5 months of design work and 2 weeks of contract negotiations, our builder walked away from us after refusing to agree to provide us lien releases that subs/suppliers would be paid. I am glad that you recommend this be included in the contract, since it is difficult to know that so much time was spent getting to agreement on terms, only to have this be the sticking point.

James, At AngiesList.com, there are thousands of reviews on service companies, such as carpenters and landscapers. By becoming a member, you get access to other consumers' reviews on these companies, which can help you make your hiring decision.

I need a great carpenter & gardener.

Looking to replace siding and need to know about Home Visions

I have a contractor who has great references but no license or insurance. Most of his subcontractors have insurance. He says he will sign (and subs) a waiver that if he gets hurt they are responsible. Would this hold up in court?

Thanks for your comments, Sarah and Leah! Angie's List has reviews on contractors across the country. Go to www.angieslist.com to learn more and find a reputable roofing or foundation repair company for your project.

We are looking at roofing contractors in Knoxville, TN area.

I need a foundation repair company. near Fort Smith, AR

It would be great to have a list that would show the cost range of a particular service. I am looking for someone to install hardie board siding on a 1910 2-story bungalow. I can't find anyone who specializes in this service (except Sears and Home Depot) nor do I have any idea how much to budget for this project. I live in Los Angeles.

Paving contractor took $500 down payment and did job. What do I do?

I need someone to do a major waterproofing in my basement.

It is also a good idea when hiring a contractor for a large project to file paperwork with the courthouse to block mechanic's liens. Without it, your contractor's subs can sue you for non-payment from your contractor.

need handyman to attend to a number of projects need to be done in my home.

When building or renovating, insist that your contractors use the locator to protect you from costly water or electric damage.

Hi Sylvia! Before starting any home improvement project, it's good to set clear goals and expectations so that you can find the right contractor to help. To learn more, read these tips at http://www.angieslisttips.com/Tips/June-2009/To-DIY-or-Not-to-DIY-.aspx Then, be sure to visit angieslist.com to read member reviews on contractors in your area.

I need help finding a contractor who has experience in remodeling old homes. I have a 1932 Sears catalog home that needs a new kitchen and modifications to the dining room walls so I can get large pieces of furniture up its steps. Where do I start looking?

Thank you for your comments! Please visit http://www.angieslist.com to learn more about finding reputable service providers for patio repair, asphalt driveways and more! Patrick, Copy and paste the following link to your browser. It will take you to a page where you can give your zip code and receive more information about Angie's List in your area. http://www.angieslist.com/AngiesList/Visitor/ChapterSelection.aspx

I am interested in a well qualified patio contractor, need to repair wooden patio

I am looking into buying a home privately. What are some things that I need to know about the house I would be buying?

Need landscape constractor to design, reslope grade on north side of house and replace timber retaining wall in backyard.

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