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Before hiring any kitchen contractor to turn your kitchen renovation plans into a dream come true, protect your kitchen remodeling investment. Your best protection, aside from thorough research for the right remodeling contractor, is a detailed contractor contract. Or, in the very least, a completely filled-in standard work contract form. Signed by both parties, of course.
After you have researched for a good kitchen remodeling contractor and compiled a list of likely candidates, meet with each individually. Make sure that all kitchen contractor insurance requirements are met. Note: contractor insurance requirements for a kitchen remodeler may differ, state to state. Check online to determine your state requirements. Contact the Secretary of State to ensure each kitchen remodeling contractor is registered and can legally conduct business in that state.
Check to ensure that contractor insurance requirements are up-to-date, skill and experience-level meet your expectations, and that references check out. You will also want to go over the kitchen renovation plans, and touch on expected labor and construction costs. Note: don't be too quick to conclude that kitchen designer school certification is better than self-cultivated on-the-job training. Hands on experience can be every bit as instructive as formal education. And don't forget, each kitchen renovation contractor must pass a comprehensive exam before receiving a license.
Next, weed out any kitchen remodeler that does not meet your criteria. Obtain a formal bid for kitchen renovation costs and a rough project plan outline from each remaining kitchen contractor. And written proof that contractor insurance requirements are met. Note: for your own protection, even after selecting a kitchen renovation contractor, check at intervals to ensure remodeling contractor insurance requirements remain current for the duration of the project. Notation of this requirement should be included in the kitchen contractor contract.
Verify skill and level of kitchen remodeling contractor training; whether from formal kitchen designer training, apprenticeship, or other on-the-job experience. (I.e. diplomas, certificates, testimonials, or references from previous employers and clients). Also closely inspect each candidate's kitchen remodeler work portfolio; ask questions for clarification.
Once you have made a final kitchen remodeler selection, schedule another meeting. This time to finalize arrangements and pinpoint each aspect of the kitchen renovation plans. Then draw up a formal contractor contract agreement.
Depending upon extent and complexity of your new kitchen renovation plans, select the type of contractor contract that works best. Whether a standard work contract form or unique kitchen contractor contract; free contractor contract forms available online, or else pre-printed sample contractor contracts. Note: search online using the terms sample contractor contracts , free contractor contract forms , examples of contractor contracts , or building contractor contracts .
If the project is relatively simple, a signed work order or completely filled-in standard work contract form might suffice. However, most projects requiring the services of a kitchen renovation contractor will warrant a formal contractor contract.
Building contractor contracts represent a binding legal agreement. Instead of just outlining kitchen renovation plans, contractor contracts should clearly define each aspect of the project. This includes but is not limited to:
In addition to the above, building contractor contracts should outline contractor insurance requirements. And any promises or agreements - spoken or implied. Remember, oral contractor contracts are only as good as the paper they are written on. Getting everything in writing is the only way to protect the interests of both parties.
Even if using only a standard work contract form, a written and signed work agreement or kitchen remodeling contractor contract is more than prudent. It is critical. Any verbal contract law you think might offer security in the event of a dispute would, at best, leave you on shaky ground.
There are many reasons why oral agreements - even when protected under the verbal contract law - are a bad idea:
A kitchen renovation contractor who claims oral agreements are comparable to written, signed kitchen remodeler contracts should be avoided at all costs! Be suspicious of any kitchen remodeling contractor or kitchen designer who seems unwilling to sign a written contract. Or who insists a vague standard work contract form is sufficient for extensive kitchen renovation plans.
In a nutshell - the verbal contract law is of little value compared to written and signed contractor contracts. With an oral agreement, each opposing side must try and convince a judge as to the agreed-upon terms. Whereas a contractor contract leaves little room for dispute.
Reputable kitchen remodelers will not only oblige a project owner's request for signed building contractor contracts. They will insist upon it!
Once the kitchen renovation contractor develops detailed kitchen renovation plans and terms have been agreed upon, an official contract should be drawn up. This can either be a self composed contract, a detailed pre-printed standard work contract form, or one of several free contractor contract forms available online. Note: if using a prepared contract, research examples of contractor contracts to select the best choice for your project.
Kitchen remodeling contractors should go over every aspect of the contractor contract with the homeowner. Both parties should thoroughly read, understand, and agree to the terms of the contract before signing it. Terms that are unclear or vague should be explained and/or revised.
One word of caution. Building contractor contracts are not legal or binding until signed by both the project owner and kitchen remodeling contractor. Terms and clauses not included in the contract at the time of signing are not legally binding.
A good kitchen contractor contract will be detailed and specific. Even a standard work contract form should include:
Whether using free contractor contract forms or developing your own, contractor contracts should be designed to protect the rights and concerns of both the kitchen remodeler and homeowner. And should clearly define in detail the scope and limitations of all kitchen renovation plans. Although a kitchen contractor should be adept at producing detailed contracts, obtaining the services of a third-party to review the wording and content of the contract might be a good idea.
A real estate lawyer familiar with building and remodeling laws and contracts can review the contract before it is signed. And make suggestions and necessary revisions. Advocating the most desirable contractor contract possible; to protect you, your family or business, and your investment.
You might ask yourself, If I genuinely trust my kitchen designer or kitchen remodeler, why have a third-party review builder contractor contracts? The answer is simple. As the project owner, you will be financially responsible for all kitchen renovation costs. And will be legally responsible for all kitchen remodeling details, once the contract has been signed, and construction begun.
While you don't want an adversarial relationship with the kitchen contractor just hired, you must ensure your best interests are covered. Protecting your investments — monetary and otherwise, is essential. An experienced kitchen remodeling contractor will recognize this and will not be offended.
Create your own building contractor contracts using sample contractor contracts as a guideline. Or print free contractor contract forms, available online. Another resource is the American Institute of Architects. Detailed examples of contractor contracts can be purchased for a reasonable price and downloaded from their web site at www.aia.org.
A pre-printed standard work contract form might be fine for smaller kitchen renovation plans. And sample contractor contracts or free contractor contract forms might suffice for many kitchen remodeling purposes. But each construction project is unique, and agreed-upon aspects will differ from one project to the next.
Pre-printed examples of contractor contracts usually require modification. Some aspects of the form may be irrelevant; certain features may have to be re-worded or omitted. And new features may have to be written in.
Despite the need for modification, sample contractor contracts and free contractor contract forms remain a viable option. Standard work contract forms and pre-printed contractor contracts are as legally binding as contractor contracts that are drawn up by a licensed kitchen contractor or lawyer.
If pre-printed examples of contractor contracts are used, ensure every blank is filled in; leave no empty spaces. Any aspect not applicable should be filled in with N/A (does not apply). Strike out clauses you don't agree with, or that are not relevant. And write in any new clauses before signing it.
Remember, even under the verbal contract law, oral agreements are worthless for building purposes. Whereas a detailed building contractor contract or completely filled-in pre-printed standard work contract form - signed by both the kitchen contractor and homeowner - protects both parties!