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"Just Sign on The Dotted Line": What You Should Know Before Signing A Home Improvement Contract

Aug 17, 2007
Well, the first thing you need to do is some research. Ask around with people you know and trust to get names of trusted contractors. Once you have names, get license numbers that you can use to check your local state or county Consumer Affairs Business License Division. Does the name and address on the license match what the records say? Is the license still valid? Have there been any complaints made about the contractor?

Once you've established all of this and have chosen your contractor, it's time to sign a home improvement contract. According to experts, there is an entire laundry list of items that you should look for in a written home improvement contract. Most notably these conditions are the full information of the contractor that includes their professional license number.

Also included in this contract should be all of the details of the project, dates to start and be finished by, payment arrangements that include cost and most especially a 'right to cancel' agreement that gives you the right to change your mind about the contract that you have signed. Generally the agreement is for 3 days, and another benefit to this agreement is that it will detail what will happen if something unexpected happens after work on the project has started.

Don't forget to include the small items as well. When contractors are working on your property, they are going to require certain facilities. Are you comfortable with them using your home toilets and phones, or would you rather they use their own?

You should always take great pains to protect both yourself and your property. When you have a home improvement contract presented to you, you should never sign it unless it is completely filled in. Don't be afraid to ask questions about things that you may not understand. This is your home we're talking about, don't be shy!

Protect yourself financially

Keep a copy of the home improvement contract filed away, even after the project has been completed. Don't pay more than the minimum guaranteed down payment and don't pay off the remainder until the project has been completely finished and all the debris has been cleared away.

This is not a comprehensive article and should be taken as such. But if you want to have a beautiful home that you can be proud to show off to your friends, take your time to have the job done right the first time. Take care of yourself, take care of your house, and you'll be taken care of.
About the Author
William King is the webmaster for Home Improvement DYI where you find many resources an other articles on just about everything related to home improvement.
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