Homeowner's Guide to The Residential Construction Contract
Assuming you have found a qualified residential contractor, it is important for any homeowner to ensure that the terms of the residential contracting services are spelled out with sufficient detail to avoid a residential construction dispute.
Quite frequently, residential contractors will tear off an estimate that summarizes the work to be performed and itemizes the material to be purchased.
Once the homeowner signs the estimate, and pays the stated deposit, a residential construction contract is likely entered into between the contractor and the homeowner.
Every construction contract contains material terms such as the price, payment structure, and scope of work.
Generally, estimates contain these terms and are likely enforceable contracts if accepted by the homeowner.
Although estimates are more efficient and less cumbersome to prepare than a formal construction contract, they are often incomplete.
For example, what happens if the residential contractor finds an unforeseen problem during the work? Should the homeowner be required to pay the additional money necessary to complete the job?
Further, a homeowner should always review the boilerplate terms or the fine print on the back of a residential contractor's estimates. These terms often limit the contractor's liability for damages caused during the project; puts the risk of obtaining permits and code compliance on the unsuspecting homeowner; and disclaims warranties for an inadequate design.
To make matters worse, these boilerplate terms will contain a provision attempting to supersede or nullify the contractor's verbal statements on these subjects.
On any significant residential construction project, it is important to think these issues through, and consult an experienced construction attorney before parting with a substantial deposit and allowing a residential contractor to rip into your home.
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