You should always anticipate that changes to your home improvement or home repair project may occur so, if and when they do, it is best to be prepared. Good preparation starts by paying attention to the details included on Before Your Project. Make sure you have utilized the Contractor Checklist and the Contract Checklist (download the pdf).
If a contractor informs you of changes that may need to occur with your project, ask him to detail in writing what they are, how they will affect costs as well as the deadlines you have agreed to in your contract. If the changes include additional fees which are not outlined in your contract’s payment schedule, you should get very specific details why. This information should be outlined in a Change Order that must be signed by you.
Keep in mind, additional fees may be legitimate if they relate to structural problems not anticipated until the project is underway. However, it is not uncommon for unscrupulous contractors to bid low on projects just to get the job. Often, once they get started, they either find they can’t do the project for the price quoted, or they make up excuses to bump the price up.
If you’re unsure whether your contractor is telling the truth about structural problems, you can get an impartial opinion from a home inspector, your local branch of the National Association of Home Builders or even your local building department.
- Don’t leave valuables around to be taken or damaged. Secure them somewhere safe and out of reach.
- If you discover a problem in your remodeling/repair project, before you even discuss it with the contractor, take pictures of the problem.
- If your project is already underway, perhaps even complete, and the contractor informs you that the agreed-upon price has skyrocketed, do not pay anything beyond what you have agreed to.
- If a contractor blames the discovery of a structural problems, like a missing beam or termite damage, or design changes needing to charge more, get a second opinion.
WEBSITE: The National Association of Home Builders
If you’re unsure whether your contractor is telling the truth about structural problems that may increase the cost of your project, you can get an impartial opinion from your local branch of theNational Association of Home Builders.
WEBSITE: The American Society of Home Inspectors
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), founded in 1976, is North America’s oldest and most respected professional society of home inspectors. ASHI’s goals have always been to build customer awareness of the importance of a quality home inspection and enhance the professionalism of home inspectors.
WEBSITE: The American Insurance Association
The American Insurance Association (AIA) is the leading property-casualty insurance trade organization, representing approximately 300 insurers that write more than $117 billion in premiums each year. AIA member companies offer all types of property – casualty insurance, including personal and commercial auto insurance, commercial property and liability coverage for small businesses, workers’ compensation, homeowners’ insurance, medical malpractice coverage, and product liability insurance.
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