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What is essential to include in remodel contracts?

10 years ago


This is my first time in this forum and am hoping those who have been through (kitchen) remodels could offer some advice. This will be our first major remodel project, so we're a bit nervous of the unknown. We've been relying a lot on what's available on the web to keep us informed, not only on kitchen design ideas, but also on how contracts should be built. The excitement of getting a new updated kitchen quickly changed course once we began the process of finalizing the contract.

We are currently working out plans with a contractor who came highly recommended from friends. We plan to demo the entire kitchen, but keep the existing floor plan (ie, keep existing walls). We've already met several times with the contractor so he understands what we'd like, in general (custom cabinets, granite counters, tile floors, recessed lights, etc). We have yet to get into the specific material choices, as he told us those decisions will be made throughout the project. He wrote up a contract and needless to say, we were a bit surprised at how 'light and simple' it was written up.

The basics of what the contract included:

* List of items: 'new counters', 'tile flooring', etc.

* Cost allowance for counters, flooring, lights/electrical, etc.

* Not to exceed amount for the entire project

Everything I read online cautions homeowners to make sure as much detail is included in the contract. Additionally, to address risks associated with the Mechanic�s Lien, I read we should include a list of all subcontractors and suppliers to be used and make checks payable jointly to the contractor and subcontractors. When I approached our contractor on these requests, he freaked out a bit. Granted, I�m sure he was offended and thought we don�t trust him.

So, finally, my question. Are our expectations of what should be included in a contract excessive and unreasonable? What is the right balance to make sure both contractor and homeowner interests are protected?


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