Save Money With the Right Remodeling Contract

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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If reading a remodeling contract makes your eyes glaze over, here’s how to get in focus. All those little details–or lack of details–in the contract can make a big difference in the price you pay. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • Scope of work. Focus not only on what is included, but what isn’t. Does the kitchen remodeling include the price of a dumpster for all the debris? Will the landscaping contractor haul away the old patio? If not, you could spend hundreds of dollars on those “extras.”
  • Type of materials. The remodeling contract should spell out all the materials, including any specific brands you’ve requested. If you want a cast iron kitchen sink, spell it out. Otherwise you can end up paying to replace the sink later.
  • Right amount of detail. The key is to find a balance, says Managemylife.com. If you want a certain brand of faucet, the contract should say so. But you don’t need to ask the contractor to specify what type of nails they plan to use.
  • Timing. Yes, you already want to know when the kitchen remodeling is scheduled to be over! On bigger projects, get a timeline for what gets done in each week. Schedules can always change, but at least you know when your appliances should be installed. You also need to know what fees you incur if the project is delayed.

Remodeling contracts also are important for landscaping and pool work, so there is no confusion. When reseeding the lawn, ask the landscaping contractor which grass is best for your climate. Adding fescue, which is drought tolerant, can save on your water bill, for example. When adding a pool, check out this primer on what to include in the remodeling contract.

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  1. One Response to “Save Money With the Right Remodeling Contract”

  2. Sep 22, 2010

    Allison, these are great recommendations for a remodeling contract. My checklist for a good contract always includes: every step of the project and the contractor’s exact responsibilities, the payment schedule, proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation, estimated start and completion dates, information on how subcontractors are paid, permitting requirements, how change orders are handled, specifications for materials (as you mentioned), and release of lien (in case the contractor doesn’t pay the subcontractors or bills for materials).

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