The Home Buyer's Korner

Information presented should be used for educational purposes only.

September 12th, 2015

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CREATING THE DREAM OF HOME OWNERSHIP

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Home Improvement Contracts

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Before starting any home improvement or remodel, make sure to get everything down in writing.

Whether it’s creating security around your home with lighting or adding a comfortable place to read and help make your space look bigger and brighter, most of us have tried our hand at adding or changing out lighting. It’s easy to add a lamp, but when we need a dimmer, adding an outlet or addressing unknown electrical issues, most of us start getting into areas that may require an electrician.

The wiring behind walls can often hide issues that you weren’t at all aware of, making it necessary to rip out walls or ceilings and adding to the overall scope and cost of what you thought was going to be a relatively inexpensive.

Before starting any project, it’s best to hire a licensed contractor who is skilled and can prepare an official contract for your project. A skilled expert can advise you how to successfully complete your project, but first make sure you have a plan of what you want and a contract will act as your guideline to ensure your project meets your standards.

A contract is a document that legally binds two parties together by a written agreement. The point of a contract is to hold all parties responsible for work to be done. It provides protection for you as the homeowner, as well as the contractor themselves.

A contract must be offered, accepted, and signed by you and your contractor. Having a contract signed by your contractor will help you in case any legal actions must be made for unsatisfactory work and their refusal to make things right. It also serves as a paper trail, noting timelines, materials, the exact scope of the project and payment schedule.

If you decide to hire a contractor to complete your project, they should provide a quote or contract after your initial discussion about the project. This quote serves as a recap of what you asked to be done, the associated pricing, expected completion dates and payment schedule.

It’s important that this document is read thoroughly; any changes to be made should be written and sent back for revision. If you decide to write a contract up yourself, local supply stores offer them and it’s easy to locate templates on many web sites.

The following are some basic contract terms that should be included:

  1. Contractor and business name, address, and all contact information
  2. Professional license information, bonding, and insurance, including workman’s compensation on their employees and sub-contractors who will in on your property. If this isn’t in the contract, ask to see a copy of each.
  3. Project details from start to finish, including who will be doing what and when
  4. List of all materials that will be used for the entire project included the type, size and individual pricing.
  5. Budgeting for equipment rental
  6. Ordering, shipping, handling anticipated costs and time length
  7. Payment instructions and budget outline, fully itemized
  8. Permits that have been obtained, if any are needed
  9. Timeline of project, including beginning, completion, and checkpoint dates
  10. Cleanup work and waste disposal plan
  11. Warranty information

Other aspects that should be outlined in your contract involve more detailed terms and conditions. When working with a contractor, it’s important to address any damages or policies that the contractor’s company has.

Some businesses require damage claims on goods to be reported within one week from the date of delivery. Policies may pertain to small things like light bulbs, batteries, granite countertops to electrical wiring.

Making changes or canceling your contract can be done if you follow the right steps. You have the option to submit a “Change Order” form, which is a signed document by the contractor to agree to the changes you make in your contract.

As projects progress, a change work order can be issued in writing – sometimes the contractor does this and sometimes the homeowner does it. A change work order can be anything from changing the lighting fixture to be used, changing the type of wiring to be done, or indicating that more work needs to be done.

Make sure you have clarity around any work order change. For example, if the contractor decides that drywall needs to be ripped out, you’ll want to find out who’s doing the repair work and how much it cost. And, if after all that aluminum wiring is discovered, have in writing the exact scope of replacement that costs. What I’m trying to express is never just accept a verbal statement, even if you’ve fallen in love with your contractor. Seemingly small projects can go sideways, so always get the work details on paper.

Canceling your contract can be more challenging than making any alterations. Make sure to read the fine print at the beginning of any project and read it again if you decide to cancel your contract for all liability rules, terms, and conditions that apply. If you are unsure how to handle canceling your project contract, consult an attorney before moving forward.

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TENNESSEE HOME OWNERSHIP TOOLS

Your Home Purchasing or Refinancing & Renovation Tools,

Home Improvements, Home Renovations,

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors

are ready to assist you with your home purchase.

Here are just a few of the home improvements

you might consider with any Home Renovation loan

Repair or replace a roof

Install, replace or repair gutters and downspouts

Replace, repair or upgrade your HVAC system

Repair or replace plumbing

Install, repair or replace electrical systems

Kitchen remodeling (including the purchase and installation of appliances)

Bathroom remodeling, Full interior painting, Total exterior painting

Repair or replace a septic system and/or well

Disability access (wheelchair ramp, elevator, widen doorways)

Build, repair or replace deck, patio or porch

Basement waterproofing and finishing

Abatement/Stabilization of lead-based paint hazards

Replace old windows, Room additions, Finish an attic

Add a second story to your home

Replace a termite damaged sill plate (a water-damaged sill plate also)

Possible landscaping items such as correction of grading & drainage problems,

tree removal, repair a driveway and sidewalks

FHA 203K

Your Home Purchasing or Refinancing & Renovation Tool

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors

are ready to assist you with your home purchase

FANNIE MAE HOMESTYLE

The Conventional Alternative to FHA 203K

Great for Real Estate Investors and Second Home Renovations

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors

are ready to assist you with your home purchase

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Up to $10K for Home Improvements, Renovations or a Simple Remodel

Mortgage Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents & General Contractors are ready to assist you

A SIMPLE HOME SHOPPING INSPECTION TOOL

Organizing your home shopping experience affords a wise decision-making process.

This simple home inspection tool makes your ultimate buying decision a smart one.

To print this document click on “Open in New Window” located at the lower right corner;

click on “File”; then click on “Print”. In the center of the screen you will

have the option to “Create A Printable PDF of the Presentation”.

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