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Avoid contract disputes when hiring help for a home renovation

Hiring a contractor for a construction addition or home renovation represents a significant investment for most Virginia homeowners. You can protect your investment and avoid scams and other disputes with a solid legal contract signed by both parties.

Use these strategies to help prevent issues when you enter a residential construction contract for work on your property.

Establish a clear payment structure

The amount and timing of payments represent common sources of disputes between homeowners and contractors. The project contract should indicate exactly when you owe each payment, the amount due at each deadline and the expected deliverables that should be complete at that time.

Check licensing and certification

You can check with the Virginia Board of Contractors to make sure a professional has the proper license to perform construction work in the state. You should also confirm that the contractor has insurance that will cover unexpected issues such as injuries and property damage during the project.

Sign a comprehensive contract

In addition to the payment schedule as described above, a contractor agreement should include:

  • The business name, address, contact information and license number for the contractor
  • A detailed inventory of required materials for the project including brand name, model, size, quantity, color and itemized cost
  • A scope of work with details about all construction deliverables covered by the contract
  • A schedule for the project including dates work will start and end
  • Notes about materials or items you will provide as well as those the contractor will provide
  • Guarantee for professional, high-quality work that adheres to state, local and industry standards and codes

You should also have a procedure in place for making and approving changes to the contract if necessary. Taking these steps can help ensure your home project will go smoothly.