Thursday, August 06, 2015

Why You Need a Lawyer to Review Your Home Improvement Contract

The economy is good.  Home improvement contractors are busy, and homeowners are finally undertaking those renovation projects that they postponed when times were bad.  You’ve done your research and found a great contractor.  Everyone is excited to start the job.  Perhaps you glance at the contract, and it seems fine.  Why hire a lawyer to review your contract?

It always astounds me when homeowners undertake six-figure projects without having a lawyer review the contract.  My rule of thumb is simple.  Always have an attorney look over your agreement unless it’s for an amount of money that you are willing to lose.

Honestly, most contractors (and I represent many, many of them) get their contracts from the internet.  They include standard clauses that are required by state law.  They may have had an attorney review the contract, but that attorney is working for them, and is not representing your best interest.

A contract is a “meeting of the minds.”  It is a way to establish expectations while the relationship is good.  Hopefully, the parties negotiate the contract and then it collects dust on a shelf.
Here are some of the clauses that I put into contracts that are important, and in many cases, required by Massachusetts law.

1.      Scope of work-What exactly is the scope of work?  Which materials will be used, including brands and models?  What is not included in the scope of the work?
2.      Begin and end dates-When is the work going to start? Are permits required? Does the homeowner have a strict deadline for completion of the job? Is the work weather-sensitive? Should there be a penalty for delay?
3.      Payment schedule-Is it a fixed price or time and materials contract? Does payment occur at the beginning or end of milestones? Is it contingent upon a bank loan? Is payment required even if there is an issue with the quality of the work? Can the contractor stop work for nonpayment? Jobs are more likely to stay on track if the payments do not get ahead of the work and vice-versa.
4.      Termination-Can either party terminate the contract? What issues form the basis for termination? How is a termination supposed to take place?
5.      Insurance-What types of insurance are required? Has the contractor provided the homeowner with evidence of insurance?
6.      Authority to make decisions-Who has authority to make decisions on behalf of the homeowners? The Contractor?
7.      Warranties-What types of warranties will be provided?
8.      Dispute resolution-Will the parties attempt to mediate disputes before going to arbitration or filing a lawsuit?
9.      Permits-Which permits are required?  In Massachusetts, the contractor must obtain the permits, or the homeowner will be denied access to the State Guaranty Fund, which is a victim’s assistance fund run by the state to compensate homeowners who have suffered damages as a result of defective work by contractors.
10.  Finally, Rule #1!-All change orders must be in writing, reflect any change in the contract price and the date of substantial completion.

These are just some examples of the issues that should be considered when drafting a home improvement contract.  By making the effort to have a clear understanding of how the project is going to work, both contractors and homeowners can prevent disputes.  The contract can also provide a guide for how to handle disputes if they occur.

When one considers the amount of money and effort that goes into a home renovation, the incremental cost of having an attorney review the contract is well worth it.  In addition, that lawyer can serve as a resource if problems occur during the project.


At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site and very helpful information. What would your recommendation be regarding the below scenario?

I had a new roof installed 10 months ago. Upon completion the roof looked fine and passed inspection. However, 3 days later our area received a substantial rainfall and the roof started leaking into the interior of my house in 7 different places. To make a VERY long story short I have had the contractor come back on 9 separate occasions to fix the leaks and nothing is working. Getting them out here anytime there is a leak is like pulling teeth. Typical response time is 2 weeks before someone shows up. The bottom line is I believe the evidence of a continued leaking roof is proof of poor workmanship. I don't want to go to court but I do want to take them to small claims court for the maximum allowable amount. In my area that is only $5,000. At least I can recover some of my funds.

What would you suggest? I have full documentation of all visits and plenty of pictures to support the roof still leaks.

Thank you.

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Bill Hauser said...


I would suggest you to please Don't go with court. You should try to know the real Reason for leaking .Many factors works in this case like poor material , inexperienced contractors , Workman ..etc .
For 30+ years, We are also satisfying the fence installation, masonry , Roofing , waterproofing needs of Delaware County and Philadelphia.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Jason Strong said...

My parents are wanting to find a general contractor to come out and take a look at our home. They are wanting to add on to it, but they aren't sure what the perimeters are to do this. I'll have to show them this and see if it can assist them in finding what they are looking for.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Mrs Sharon Sim said...

Hello Everybody,
My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:( Thank you.

At 11:07 AM, Blogger السعيد عبدالحق said...

hi i am very happy to visit your blog and i hope publish it

شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش خارج الرياض
افضل شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض
شركة رش مبيدات شمال الرياض
شركة تنظيف كنب بالرياض رخيصة
افضل شركة مكافحة حشرات الرياض
تسليك مجاري المطبخ بالخرج
شركة تنظيف كنب بالرياض رخيصة
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
افضل شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض
حل ارتفاع فواتير المياه
افضل شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض

At 11:09 AM, Blogger bghuyndhrj said...

Home improvement contractors including electricians, plumbers, roofers and more must meet specific requirements that vary by state.Licensed general contractor massachusetts

At 11:26 AM, Blogger bghuyndhrj said...

A warning shot notice used by a general contractor that puts an owner on notice that if payment is not made, a mechanic's lien will be filed. Sets up the negotiating process to hopefully get you paid.general contractor Massachusetts
general contractor Massachusetts

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Jamie Coffey said...

Homeowners are sometimes not skilled enough to do their own projects so in order to save money some take on the role of general contractor when they are faced with a
large project. By doing this they can often save 10-20 % of their total project cost.Read more at-general contractor Massachusetts

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Descargar Geometry Dash said...

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something
Descargar Geometry Dash |Descargar Geometry Dash 2.0 |Geometry Dash|Geometry Dash 2.0 |

At 12:29 AM, Blogger Corlin Divabla said...

Protect yourself - Life is full of decisions - If your are planning to build a custom home, your decision making skills will need to be improved dramatically. One of the most important decisions will be - who will build my future quality home? See more-Licensed general contractor massachusetts

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Corlin Divabla said...

All work must be performed by a licensed and approved drain layer. Anyone who so desires may become an approved drain layer by filling out an application, supplying a bond and insurance, and paying the associated fee.See more at-sewer tie in Massachusetts

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Jenifer Lopez said...

Often I am asked, "How do I find a good general contractor?" There are many things to look for, and a few red flags to watch out for. Here are some basic guidelines...For learning about this see here-Licensed general contractor massachusetts

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Annie said...

Very informative post for those first time home buyers. I believe it's better to make sure you have all your basis covered. Thanks for sharing.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Angelina Jukić said...

all mens/womens
Selecting the right sexual enhancement products can be a highly difficult task with so many options right in front of us.
Take a look at for more: Biomanix review

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Angelina Jukić said...

Nowadays, the need for male enhancement products becomes larger and the demand is growing. There are a lot of men who dare to try using these male enhancement products due to great demands to increase their sexual performance.
To learn more: Biomanix Ingredients

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will say this when a homeowner is in emotionally charged situation,example I live in a condo, with an Hoa.They change alot for monthly fees, 260/ mo. No mantainance,not to mention a long list of problems.I had pipe explode.It took 30 min for an Hoa after-hours to shut off the hot water,which is locked on the outside of building. I gotc mitigation started. A+ rating BBB.It took over 4 months to put in floors,baseboards.Ihad insurance,Today the work still isn't done.Homeowners become taken advantage of, your risk goes up when you are,a senior,single woman, demographic area,disabled,I fit the entire list.I bet it is still my fault, because this CONTRACTORS know who to size up.Oh this place only had appx 1000sq.ft.I have pics from a property /realestate photographer.Ihave no more energy left. This happens more than reported. It takes money to hold someone accountable.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Angelina Jukić said...

There are numerous challenges involved in finding a suitable contractor at the right price. In most cases, you will either end up with a general contractor who will
charge you an arm and a leg for quality work.See more at-general contractor Massachusetts

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Friv4 said...

When you're tired, you want to relax after a stressful working hours, you need to have time to take care of the kids active.
Please visit our website and play exciting flash games.
Thanks you for sharing!
Friv 4

At 5:40 AM, Blogger home renovation dubai said...

It's nice to see this post for home garden and one thing i would like to say something about your post that you have maintain well your post and everything on proper place....Blinds And Curtains In Dubai

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Trúc Phương said...

in ky yeu
in phong bi
in the nhan vien
In thẻ VIP
Mẫu kỷ yếu đẹp
Mẫu phong bì đẹp
in giấy khen giá rẻ

At 1:08 AM, Blogger East Coast Construction said...

There are many reasons that we need a lawyer before going for new construction in New Jersey. Every professional builder always recommend their clients to do this.

At 3:57 AM, Blogger Yoko Hao said...

kickfit |
boxing | vo tu ve | kick boxing | Quyen Thai | muay thái | võ gậy arnis
học muay thái ở hà nội | lớp học boxing cho nữ tại hà nội | học võ tự vệ tại hà nội | kick boxing hà nội

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Alfaj Ripon said...

Dear friend,

Anyone dealing with construction site regulation compliance issues knows that it's not an easy job. Federal, state and local laws impact many facets of construction work, and keeping up with what seem to be constant changes can be overwhelming. Compliance with the laws is vital, though, no matter how new they are.
my aim is to help you :general contractor Massachusetts

Thank you for read my comment.


At 3:16 AM, Blogger Sathiaja Sarah said...

Dear website author,

With the progress in civilization, the people of United States started to move inland into the continent. Gradually, they started to unveil natural resources from the vast stretch of land.
see more details : sewer tie in Massachusetts

Thank you for read my comment.


At 11:39 PM, Blogger Sathiaja Sarah said...

Dear website author,

With the progress in civilization, the people of United States started to move inland into the continent. Gradually, they started to unveil natural resources from the vast stretch of land.
see more details : Licensed general contractor massachusetts

Thank you for read my comment.


At 5:28 AM, Anonymous martin said...

construction regulations are a head ache everywhere. they seem to be ever on a change path. a lawyer would be able to sort this out and so it is very important to have one.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Oly 16 said...

Mẫu thiết kế logo chuyên nghiệp giá rẻ
Mẫu thiết kế logo quan cafe đẹp và ấn tượng
Chuyên thiết kế logo my pham đẹp và sang trọng
Cách Làm logo spa salon chuyên nghiệp tại TP.HCM
Bạn đang Cần thiết kế logo nhà hàng đẹp cho nhà hàng của mình.
Mẫu thiết kế logo thoi trang sinh động, fasshion mang lại niềm tin lớn cho khách hàng
Cung cấp logo noi that cho các công ty chuyên về các sản phẩm gỗ
Thiết kế logo công ty trong và ngoài nước làm nổi bật thương hiệu của bạn
Thiết kế logo xay dung cho các tập đoàn công ty bất động sản lớn tại Việt Nam
Mẫu logo xe hoi đẹp, sáng tạo cho các hãng xe
Thiết kế logo giá rẻ đẹp và chất lượng uy tín và luôn đảm bảo
Đại lý mercedes haxaco chính hãng tại Việt Nam
Haxaco hàng xanh: địa chỉ cung cấp xe mercedes chất lượng và uy tín
Haxaco võ văn kiệt: đại lý mercdes chính hãng đầu tiên tại Việt Nam

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Yoko Hao said...

kickfit |
boxing | vo tu ve | kick boxing | Quyen Thai | muay thái | võ gậy arnis
học muay thái ở hà nội | lớp học boxing cho nữ tại hà nội | học võ tự vệ tại hà nội | kick boxing hà nội | kickfiness

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Trinh Phạm said...

Nice Blog ! Thanks for share…
- may rua xe ap luc cao
- may hut bui mini
- may hut bui cong nghiep hiclean
- cau nang rua xe hoi
Mercedes Haxaco :
- xe mercedes glc 300
- giá xe mercedes
- xe mercedes c250
- in name card gia re
- in bao thu gia re
- in catalogue gia re
- in to roi brochure
- in catalogue poster
- thiet ke name card ca nhan
Thanks !!!

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Alice Taylor said...

You’ve written nice post, I am gonna bookmark this page, thanks for info. I actually appreciate your own position and I will be sure to come back here.

monkey go happy| yahtzee with buddies| | mahjong | | defendyournuts 2| superfighters 2 |

At 5:14 AM, Blogger Người giấu mặt said...

mua bơ đậu phộng ở đâu TPHCM
bơ đậu phộng bán ở đâu TPHCM
mua bột gelatin ở đâu TPHCM
mua đường phèn HCM
mua đường thốt nốt ở đâu
mua đường nâu ở đâu
mua gạo lứt ngon
bơ hạt mỡ là gì mua ở đâu
bơ cacao là gì mua ở đâu
bột cacao là gì mua ở đâu
bột cacao

At 9:59 PM, Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

michael kors factory outlet
kobe basketball shoes
michael kors outlet online
adidas nmd
jordan retro
michael kors handbags
jordan retro
louis vuitton handbags
mlb jerseys
nike roshe run
yeezy sneakers
chrome hearts online
true religion jeans
cheap air jordan
roshe run
mlb jerseys shop
nike air zoom
nike huarache
cheap uggs
nike polo
adidas nmd
nike huarache
michael kors handbags sale
air jordan shoes
cheap oakleys
oakley sunglasses
michael jordan shoes
nike zoom

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Kompucer said...

great idea, looks like I need to try

At 2:40 AM, Blogger bm Coinc said...

Benchmark Construction, Inc. or BMCOINC in short is a construction company which deals in earthquake rertofitting for commercial and residential properties, installing detectable warnings and truncated domes at offices and homes etc -

Commercial Tenant Improvement

Residential Rehab apartments

Remodeling contractors in los angeles

Building contractors in Los angeles

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Victoria Lawson Financier help me when I was desperately in need of funds to clear debt while my husband was in hospital for surgical Treatment after he had a serious gassy accident in the factory. We spend all we have on his emergency survival treatment. After 3 Months, Doctors request for more money for a major operation because of the gas effect which was what makes me plead for funds assistance and look for loan online. After i read a lots of testimony of how Victoria Lawson Financier has help different persons, I also contacted her with { } as directed by each testimony that i read. I explain how urgent i need the funds desperately And She gave me their policies which i agreed and my loan amount was transferred into my bank account. It was a right decision to have contacted her company. I will also advice every one in need of funds to contact Victoria Lawson Via Her Email:

*Full Name:_________



*loan amount:_________

*Loan duration:_________


*Purpose of loan:_________

*Monthly Income:__________


*Next of kin:_________

*Email :_________

At 12:31 PM, Blogger James Jones said...

What % is normal to pay a contractor to start work?
contractor marietta ga

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Xbox One said...

A child asked God: "If everything was written in fate so why should the convention?".
Friv 2 | Unblocked | Yepi 2 | Unblocked Games | Xbox One Gamestop

At 3:42 AM, Blogger hady medo said...

At 3:43 AM, Blogger hady medo said...

At 3:47 AM, Blogger hady medo said...

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous starfall said...

Thanks for sharing the information. It is very useful for my future. keep sharing
barney | abcya


Post a Comment

<< Home