Before signing a home improvement contract, make sure that:
- All project financing is
- You have checked with local officials
to see if permits are required for the project.
- The contractor has given you
references, which you’ve checked.
- The contractor has shown you proof of
licenses, insurance, and bonding. State law does not require home improvement
contractors to be licensed, but many Ohio cities do.
- You have checked with the local
Better Business Bureau at
www.bbb.org and the
Ohio Attorney General’s Office to see if complaints are on file against
- You have received at least three
written estimates from three different contractors.
- You always ask for the manufacturer’s
warranty in writing on items such as siding, windows, roofing materials, and
heating and cooling equipment.
- After the job has been completed, you
request an itemized receipt for the work performed. Keep old parts, such as
furnace parts, in case you later need to prove that a particular item did not
need to be replaced.
Don’t enter into a home improvement deal unless it is in writing
and is signed by both you and the contractor.
The contract should detail all of the necessary information for completing the
work, such as:
- A complete description of the work to
be done, timeframe, and the materials to be used.
- A provision requiring written
approval for any changes.
- A clear statement explaining any
contractor guarantee or warranty, and all of the contractor’s oral promises.
- A provision stating the total cost
for the work and the specific terms for payment of materials and labor.
- A provision that does not require you
to pay attorney’s fees, court costs, or damages in case of a dispute or
- A requirement for the contractor to
obtain all necessary permits and inspections.
Remember, too, that the contract should not have a requirement for a large down
payment or payment-in-full until the project is complete and has been inspected.
Make sure the contract does not include a mandatory arbitration clause, in which
you waive your right to sue.
HOME IMPROVEMENT BROCHURE