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Remodeling your home is an exciting journey that lets you bring to life the vision you have for your space. While most of us have no shortage of ideas when it comes to how we want to set up our homes, you may need some backup to turn those plans into a final product.

Hiring a team or contractor to help with your remodel will take the stress away from you and ensures the job gets done at the level of perfection you’ve dreamt of. A must-have when hiring people to carry out this work is a clear agreement that sets proper expectations for both you and your contractors.

We outline all the important terms and details you should include in your remodeling contract to ensure your renovation goes smoothly in this post. You’ll leave prepared to review your next renovation agreement so you can start your project with confidence.

Project Specifications

One of the most important things when working with a contractor is making sure you are on the same page about the specifics of the work being done at your house. No matter how thorough your contract is, it’s impossible to predict the future.

That’s why your remodeling contract should always include a project specifications section, where the overall plan is described in great detail. It’s a good idea to be specific in defining the scope of work that your project entails and what you expect from your contractor. Some important items to include are:

  • Job site location
  • Work to be completed
  • What methods and equipment the contractors will use to perform the work
  • Relevant electrical, plumbing, and/or floor plans

During home remodeling projects, it’s common for unexpected discoveries and events to happen, whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or another area of your home. If you change your mind about the scope of the project once it’s underway, you can issue a change order. This is the formal procedural name for altering a project if you want to make a different design choice or encounter an unforeseen problem.

In case you need to switch directions, be sure to spell out a procedure for how to request modifications. Change orders also can potentially cause delays, so you’ll want to establish with your contractor how they will be addressed if they occur and how the changes might affect your project timeline.

Resolving Disputes

While changes and alterations to the project are usually dealt with in a calm matter, it’s possible that you may have a disagreement with your contractor. To prevent a conflict from escalating, it’s important to have a dispute resolution arrangement in your contract.

This is an agreed-upon process to remedy disputes about the project. If you encounter any issues down the road, you can refer back to this process to resolve them. Establishing a dispute resolution arrangement also helps prevent future legal issues.

Timeline

Your remodeling contract should specify both a start and end date for the job. While contractors work hard to meet their agreed-upon deadlines, they sometimes run into unforeseen circumstances that push timelines back. This can include shipping delays, changes to the scope of the project, or unexpected structural issues that are uncovered during the construction process.

Delays are not uncommon with renovation projects, so it’s a good idea to work with your contractor to define penalties or cost deductions in the event you encounter lengthy hold-ups. Having this agreed-upon way of dealing with delays will help you know what to expect and how to resolve them.

Products and Materials Needed

With all the time and money invested in a home remodeling project, you’ll want to ensure the final result is exactly what you anticipated. Have a discussion with your contractor about the types of products and materials you’d like used, including types of paint, flooring, and appliances. Once you establish these details, make sure these are outlined in the contract.

If you’re unsure about the quality or details about specific products being used in the remodel, make sure to ask your contractors to review these with you. If there are specific materials or products you do or do not want to be used, like types of paint, for example, make sure these preferences are outlined in the contract. Having measurement or quantity estimates for each piece of material will help you calculate the most accurate cost estimate. You’ll be equipped with a clear idea of what the products will cost, which will help you stay with your budget.

You’ll also want to ensure that the products and materials used on the job match what was agreed upon in your contract. This is an important step to achieving the renovation results you’re looking forward to enjoying.

Qualifications

According to Bella Contracting Services, a contracting company with over 20 years of experience, choosing the right contractors is one of the most important steps in any remodeling project. The experience, quality, and professionalism of your contractor greatly influence how your renovations will turn out.

In this section of the contract, your remodeling contractors should assert that they have the proper licensing, insurance, and bonding to perform the work.

You can also specify who should obtain the necessary permits. If both parties assume that the other one will obtain permits, you may encounter legal issues when you decide to sell your home.

Finally, it’s important to include what type of warranty and insurance the contractor will provide with their work. If any accidents occur on the job site, you’ll want assurance that a warranty will protect all parties involved. It’s a good idea to hire a contractor whose warranty covers materials, the work itself, and any potential fixes if problems occur once the project is complete. Make note of how long the warranty will last and how much you will be reimbursed for in the event of an accident.

Payments

Due to the cost of contracting projects, it’s common to arrange a payment schedule rather than paying for it all upfront. Your remodeling contract should specify when payments will be made and what those amounts will be. 

If any of the work involves subcontractors, like plumbers, painters, or electricians, be sure to include lien waivers in the contract. When you add a lien waiver to each invoice, it verifies that both the contractors and any subcontractors were paid for their work. This will prevent any legal issues that may result if workers claim they weren’t fully paid.

The next time you start planning a remodel, set aside time to review a contract to go with it. This will ensure that both you and your contractor understand the scope of the work, have proper expectations and are in agreement about the time frame. This important pre-work before your renovations will let you focus on the exciting part which is how much you’ll love your new space.

Our team specializes in new construction and renovation loans. Get started with a loan officer today to discuss financing the transformation of your space into the home you’ve been dreaming of.

Bella Contracting Services is a family-owned construction company based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, with over two decades of experience. They tackle all kinds of residential and commercial demolition projects. Kayla Russell from their marketing team contributed to this article.

The included content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as professional advice. Additional terms and conditions apply. Not all applicants will qualify. Consult with a finance professional for tax advice or a mortgage professional to address your mortgage questions or concerns. This is an advertisement. Prepared 10/21/2021.