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A few things to consider when signing a construction contract

If you are about to start a construction project on your home, you will eventually be presented with a contract to sign. Construction contracts can be works of beauty that protect your best interests and keep your project running smoothly, or they can be massive headaches that are full of disputes. Some homeowners sign lengthy contracts without even bothering to read them, but this is a huge mistake.

Construction contracts frequently skew in favor of the contractor, but that doesn't have to be the case for you. Before you sign any legal documents, you should think carefully about the details to include. These are a few important things that you should consider before you decide to sign a construction contract.

  • What will it cost?

A good contract will stipulate prices. You should also factor in any potential charges that the other party may not have discussed up front, such as photocopying and postage. You should consider sitting down with your attorney and the other party and having a frank discussion about prices before you sign any legal documents.

  • Set a time frame

It can be difficult to determine the exact time frame for a construction project. After all, any number of factors could expedite or slow down the process. But your contract should have a general time frame that you and the other party agree on.

  • Choose your materials

In your contract, clearly state the types of materials that will be used in the project-and be specific. Even if you and the other party have had a verbal discussion about materials, be sure to get the details in writing. This can help prevent disputes regarding the quality, origin or price of materials and how they will be used.

  • Anticipate disagreements

In any project that has multiple people working on it, there are bound to be some disagreements. What will happen if you and the other party dispute some aspect of the project, or even the contract itself? Some contracts have arbitration clauses that require disputes to be solved out of court. This can be a benefit or a drawback, depending on your situation. If you have encountered a contract dispute that you cannot resolve, you may wish to seek the counsel of a lawyer.

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