A home improvement contract is a legal document, which is actually an agreement between the homeowner and the contractor, to whom the job is assigned. This contract must follow the applicable laws in a particular state in which the property is situated. Like any other contracts, a home improvement contract also spells out each of the party’s responsibilities in details. In most of the states, such a contract is mandatory if the project cost is more than a certain amount applicable in that state.
Home improvement contract – What points to mention in the contract
All the information should be typed in a home improvement contract. There are certain other details which are mandatory in such a contract, which you, the homeowner and the contractor should check out before signing it, irrespective of who has taken the responsibility to prepare the agreement.
- The name of the contract – The name “Home Improvement Contract” should be clearly mentioned on the top of the first page of the agreement. It is mandatory for making it a legal contract involving both the parties.
- Name of the contractor along with necessary details – The name of the contractor along with other necessary information such as, the address and state license number needs to be clearly mentioned.
- Name of the homeowner along with necessary details – Similarly, the name of the homeowner along with his/her contact information need to be mentioned.
- Start and end date of the project – Check out whether or not there are approximate start and end dates of the project. It should be mentioned in the contract how long a homeowner has to wait before filing a lawsuit if there’s much delay in the start and end date of the project. There should be certain terms and conditions in favor of the contractor (such as, flooding or other natural calamities) due to which the work could not be completed during the given time period, and the contractor would not be penalized.
- Detailed description of the project – Since it is a legally binding contract, the project should be described in details. For example, the materials to be used for home improvement along with the brand names and other identifying features need to be clearly mentioned. If the contractor is supposed to do special cleanup, then it also has to be mentioned in the contract.
- Estimated cost of the project – The estimated cost of the home improvement project has to be stated in the agreement in details. This means that the cost should be in dollars and cents. Most of the times, there’s a possibility of certain additional costs, so it needs to be mentioned. However, there should be a limit above which the project cost cannot exceed. Therefore, this limit also needs to be cited in the contract.
- Schedule of the project payment – Payments are usually due after completion of certain work. So, the payment schedule has to be there in the agreement. It clearly states when payments are due after completion of specific phases. The phases should be mentioned in details and the payment must be mentioned in dollars and cents. Also mention the time allowance within which the homeowner has to make the necessary payments. The down payment should also be mentioned; however, in certain states, there’s a limit of the dollar amount or a certain percentage more than which you cannot make towards down payment.
- List of documents to be attached with the contract – Certain documents are required in most of the contracts. The list of the required documents should be there in the agreement and the photocopies of the documents should be attached with the contract.
- Warranty given by the contractor – Make sure the warranties provided by the contractor, along with their validity dates, are mentioned in the agreement, in details.
Last but not the least, there should be ample space in the contract for both the parties to sign. The homeowner along with the contractor must sign the document and mention the date (on which the document is signed) in order to make the agreement legal and valid. It is always better to involve an attorney while signing up for this type of contract since he/she can answer all your queries and can ensure that all the required details are mentioned in order to make it a legal contract.