Deciding to make improvements to your home is a big deal. Whether you thinking about repainting a bedroom or completely remodeling your home, you need to protect your home. Not only is it likely your most valuable asset, but it is the place where you and your family live, so before any work begins, make sure you ask the right questions.
You should use only licensed and bonded/insured contractors.
How do you know if you are hiring a licensed contractor? Many contractors will mislead you about whether they are licensed. In fact, many will tell you they are licensed, while the person holding the license is only loosely affiliated with the company and not involved in doing the work on your home. But the good news is you can verify whether your contractor has a license at: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing. Licensed contractors are required to have 2 to 4 years of work experience or a degree in an affiliated field. Also, licensed contractors are required to offer a written warranty for work exceeding $2,500. If your contractor isn’t licensed, you shouldn’t use that contractor. But, if you do decide to use them anyway, you should know that an unlicensed contractor is prohibited from filing a lien against your home or otherwise enforcing an agreement against the homeowner.
You should always get a written contract with details about the scope of work and payment terms.
Start by asking your contractor if there is a written contract? A project involving your home should be more than a simple estimate or invoice, particularly if you are talking about major renovations. If the written document – which is a contract – doesn’t include, at a minimum, a detailed scope of work, time for performance, payment terms, warranty details, contingency, permitting, inspections, default, and termination provisions, then hire an attorney to draft one for you. Even if they do have their own written document or contract, you should hire an attorney to review it. The cost of an attorney is minimal when compared to the investment you’re making in your home. And, you can be sure that having an attorney help you with the contract is much cheaper than ending up in a lawsuit over damage to your home.
Never be intimidated or afraid to ask for something in writing and to ask an attorney to review the document as well. This is a business transaction and a well-written contract will protect your interests as well as those of the contractor. If we can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out.