"Just Sign Here." - Home Improvement Contracts and You

As the weather gets warmer, home owners everywhere are starting to think about what improvements they want to make to their homes. Some will be looking into doing some major pruning and some will be a bit more extravagant and have a pool installed. Big or small though, these are projects that will more than likely require the services of a hired professional. Before you say yes to one though, a home improvement contract must be signed. What should you look for before you sign one?

Well, the first thing you need to do is your homework. Ask around with people you know and trust to get names. Once you have names, get license numbers that you can use to check your local Consumer Affairs Business License Division. Does the name and address on the license match what the records say? Is the license still valid? Have there been any complaints made about the contractor?

Once you’ve established all of this and have chosen your contractor, it’s time to sign a home improvement contract. According to experts, there is an entire laundry list of items that you should look for in a written home improvement contract. Most notably is the full information of the contractor, including their professional license number.

Also included in this contract should be all of the details of the project, dates to start and be finished by, payment arrangements that include cost and most especially a ‘right to cancel’ agreement that gives you the right to change your mind about the contract that you have signed. Generally the agreement is for 3 days, and the agreement should detail what will happen if something unexpected happens after work on the project has started.

Don’t forget to include the small items as well. When contractors are working on your property, they are going to require certain facilities. Are you comfortable with them using your home toilets and phones, or would you rather they use their own?

You should always take great pains to protect both yourself and your property. When you have a home improvement contract presented to you, you should never sign it unless it is completely filled in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things that confuses you. This is your home we’re talking about, don’t be shy!

Protect yourself financially

Keep a copy of the home improvement contract filed away, even after the project has been completed. Don’t pay more than the minimum guaranteed down payment and don’t pay off the remainder until the project has been completely finished and all the debris has been cleared away.

This is not a comprehensive article and should not be taken as such. But if you want to have a beautiful home that you can be proud to show off to your friends, take your time to have the job done right the first time. Take care of yourself, take care of your house, and you’ll be taken care of.


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