After deciding to repair your roof or install some new gutters, you call your contractor. Together you negotiate the details regarding cost, the timeline of the project, and what you want the final product to look like. Then, your contractor hands you the contract to sign.

BUT WAIT! Before you sign the contract, you should review it thoroughly and check to make sure that the contract covers the basic details of the project, as well as any potential problems that may arise while the work is being completed. Here’s what you should look for on any typical construction company’s contract:.

  1. Description of the home improvement project. This will tell you what is being done to your home and where. You’ll want to ensure that everything you have discussed with your estimator is reflected correctly here.

  2. Approximate dates of when the home improvement project will begin and will it will be completed. This is very important so that you can keep track of timeliness should any issues come up.

  3. Cost of the project, which should also include how much money is required for the deposit. As a side note, according to Maryland state law, governed by the MHIC, a contractor can’t accept more than a third of the contract price as a deposit.

  4. Payment/draw Schedule. It is in your best interest to ensure that the contract includes a section linking each sum of your payment with the progress of the project.

  5. A list of the materials that will be used in the project, along with the warranty information for each of the items. Here you should be sure to check off the specific colors and styles that you have selected to ensure that everything is accurate.

  6. Rules about the contractor’s use of your property. Is you contractor allowed to store materials on your property? Park in your garage? These rules should be outlined clearly in the contract to ensure that both parties know their boundaries

  7. Information about whether your contractor will use subcontractors.

  8. Who takes responsibility for damage or theft that occurs as a result of the home improvement project. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made during these projects so it’s important to state who has to pay for repairs or replacements before any problems occur.

  9. Contract disputes. What are the steps that you and your contractor can take if either of you believes the other has broken the contract? Arbitration or mediation? Or something else? Hopefully you won’t have to deal with contract disputes, but you want to make sure that you are prepared in case you run into conflicts with your contractor. And always remember that should any issue arise, calling your contractor directly is the best way to get things taken care of in a timely fashion.

After you’ve thoroughly read through the contract (no skimming!), sign the contract and let the home improvement magic begin! If you’re looking for a contractor, consider working with AROCON Roofing and Construction. We offer everything from roof tune-ups to window installation, gutter repairs, and more!