Post details: Remodeling 101 - Part 2


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Remodeling 101 - Part 2

Contract Review

The contract binds both you and the contractor to the project. The approved plans and specifications should be part of the document to help clarify the extent of work to be done and the responsibilities of both parties. Make sure your contract includes at least the following:

- The name, address, and license number of the contractor
- The start and completion dates of the project
- A description of materials and work to be done
- The price of the project and a schedule of progress payments (which should coincide with city inspections to ensure each phase of work has been properly completed)
- A description of what constitutes substantial commencement of work
- A notice that the contractor shall substantially commence work within 20 days of a specified date

Unless you have a substantial legal background, it's a good idea to have a legal adviser look over the contract your contractor has prepared.

Work Together

The details of your remodeling project will be unique to you and your contractor, and will probably be filled with ups and downs, delays and surprises. Almost surely there will be a demolition phase, followed by a time when the basics, from walls to wiring, are rebuilt or upgraded as needed. Then cabinets, appliances, and so forth will be installed, and paint, hardware, and other finishing touches can be put in place.

During the remodeling process, keep your relationship with the contractor and his or her workers as cordial as possible. It's normal for both sides to get on each other's nerves, but here are a few suggestions to keep things running smoothly.

- Take responsibility. If you have pets, keep them on leashes or confined. Supervise your children and instruct them not to bother the workers. Talk to your neighbors before construction starts, informing them about the time frame of the project and the nature of the work involved.
- Stay out of the way. A job runs more smoothly if the remodeler and crew can concentrate on their work with minimal interference.
- Speak up. When you do talk with the remodeler, be clear about your concerns. Tell him or her what's on your mind; don't allow problems to fester.
- Be friendly and supportive. Greet the contractor and workers when they arrive. Put out refreshments occasionally. Thank them for good work.
- Be patient. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. When they do, resolve the conflict and move on.
- Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself and your family to meals out. Keep your sense of humor, and focus on the big picture: how much you and your family are sure to enjoy your new space.

At the End

When you and your contractor agree the job is done, set a time for a walk-through to ascertain that everything was completed as ordered. You already know your professional's policy regarding problems that arise after completion, but identify as many potential difficulties as possible before he or she leaves the site.

A few weeks down the road, show your appreciation for a job well done. A small gift is perfectly appropriate, as is a letter of thanks in which you offer to serve as a client reference for your professional's future jobs.

Better Homes and Gardens



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