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A home renovation is both a financial and emotional investment. We have heard hundreds of renovations stories, most of the tales end with happy homeowners, but that is not always the case. A renovation can go sideways when homeowners try to save money by cutting corners – by agreeing to a cash deal.

Without a written quote, or better, a signed agreement, you have no assurance of warranty protection on the craftsmanship and materials used. There is no guarantee that your home insurance will be valid if the work causes damage to your home, no protection against the assumed liability you take on if your cash contractor is under-insured, and no idea if what you’ve done is onside with local government or other agencies. It is difficult to navigate a world of permits, building code, and managing inspections - so don’t cut corners and put yourself at risk, all to save a few dollars upfront.

The most important step is to get it in writing. A professional renovator will offer a contract that covers the scope of the project, start and completion dates, warranties, insurance, liens and much more. Now you’ve probably heard that you need a renovation contract, but what does one need to include? Learn how you can protect yourself, by this comprehensive contract checklist below!

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A proper contract treats both parties fairly. You get assurance you will have a completed project, at the agreed to price and on time, while the contractor is assured they will be paid in full and on time.

Once you have agreed on the terms of the contract, the contractor will prepare a second draft for your review. If you have a project large in scope, it may even be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the content. If you do not understand or agree to the terms on the contract, simply do not sign it. Discuss and ask the contractor for clarification, and ask for amendments as needed. Don’t forget, that once signed – this is a legally binding document for both parties involved.

Getting your renovation project in writing is the first step towards a successful renovation done right the first time, keeping you in control of timelines and budgets, and ultimately resulting in a finished product that you can enjoy for years to come!