3 Must-Include Items For Any Home Improvement Contract

When it comes to home improvement projects, a good contract is worth its weight in gold. By addressing the right issues, you can guarantee that the work goes the way you want it—and doesn't cost a penny more than it should. Here are three important points to address in your next home improvement contract.

Warranties

From product warranties, to labor warranties, to manufacturer warranties, you're bound to encounter warranties in every aspect of your project. It's important to compile as much relevant information about these warranties as possible—and include it all in your contract for easy reference. This section should encompass such questions as

  • Which items are and are not warrantied?
  • What are the specific terms of each warranty?
  • Which construction defects does your contractor's warranty cover?

In addition, be sure to include photocopies of any manufacturer warranties for all of the products used in your project—from building materials to appliances. This information will prove helpful in determining whether the contractor or the manufacturer is responsible in case of any product failures down the line.

Change Order Process

A change order is what happens when you decide you want to do something different partway through the project. Because it can be hard to predict how every last thing is going to go, change orders are a much more common occurrence than you think. And whether large or small, they can quickly turn into a financial nightmare.

Therefore, it is important to explicitly address the change order process in your contract. Be sure to provide answers to the following questions:

  • Does your contractor charge an extra fee for change orders?
  • If so, how much?
  • If the new work involves hiring other contractors, what will their pay rate be?
  • What is the upper cost limit for a single change order?

Allowances

Allowances are another aspect of your contract that can easily end up costing you much more than anticipated. On paper, an allowance seems reasonable enough: it's a tentative dollar amount earmarked for a specific portion of the project. Yet this amount can often balloon drastically, leaving you in a financial hole.

For instance, say your contractor budgets for a kitchen cabinet allowance of $5,000. What happens when it turns out that the cheapest available cabinets actually cost $8,000? You'll find yourself trapped between a rock and a hard place—either go $3,000 over budget—or not have any kitchen cabinets!  

For that reason, it's best to reject any contract with allowances. Instead, plan on making your product selections before you begin accepting bids from contractors. This will make it possible for your contractor to draw up a bid that is much more likely to remain on budget. Talk to a professional like Gallery Homes Ltd for more information.

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