Always Have a Contract

People fail to realize that there are various other things that builders and homeowners should consider while building a home. Among them are contractor forms, which are important for confirming the agreement between you and the contractor. Without these forms, your agreement will not hold any value.

It is critical that you comprehend the idea of “particular amnesia”. Verbal agreements and telephone discussions regularly tend to bring about gentle to exceptionally extreme instances of this marvel. The more cash being referred to the more serious the illness. Without clear and compact composed documentation of the expectation and commitments of both the property holder and the contractor things can and will escape hand, emotions will flare and claims are probably going to result. Without legitimate and clear documentation a disagreement or debate turns into a “He said-She said” contention, or basically your assertion against his. No one ever truly wins in this circumstance. The old dependable “Yet what I said was not by any stretch of the imagination what I signified” cop out can be baffling and exorbitant to everybody included.

Firstly, any kind of transaction should be supported by legal documents. Without legal documents, your project will be unprotected. So, having a contract document is crucial. The contractor documents should have a warranty. You should decide if you want the contractor to be responsible only for workmanship or even the materials that will be used for constructing your home.

With this in mind you, the owner, should really be the one to draft the owner-contractor agreement. Non-commercial (i.e., residential) contractors are notorious for having very one-sided and loosely worded written agreements which largely if not totally favor the contractor. These are normally so poorly worded that they can be interpreted pretty well any way anyone wants to interpret them. The concept is that if the contractor drafted it and you signed it the contractor’s interpretation of the document must be the correct interpretation. Unfortunately for the homeowner these situations typically consider the contractor as the “professional” and as such his interpretation or opinion will generally prevail in a conflict.

We have found it best for the homeowner to draft the owner-contractor agreement, even if only in letter form. The homeowner should be able to clearly outline in plain language what he expects the contractor to do, outline the agreed terms and conditions of payment and even stipulate a time frame for completion. If the homeowner insists on using or incorporating his version of the agreement it will then become incumbent on the contractor to have his (the contractor’s) attorney review it. This will save the homeowner money in legal fees. If the contractor absolutely refuses to allow the homeowner to draft the agreement the best option is for the homeowner to draft his own outline of what he expects to have done, etc., and attach it as an exhibit to the contractor’s contract form. It is important that the homeowner include wording to the effect that in the event of a conflict between the body of the contract and the attachment the attachment will govern.

It should be understood that it is always a good idea for the homeowner to have his attorney review the agreement no matter what form it takes. Be sure,
however, that the attorney understands that you want a simple, plain language agreement and not one filled with fine print and endless “legalese”.



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