There are three little words that make or break almost every remodel project!
The Change Order.
When I look at a project, I always look at the potential issues. I really approach it in a glass half empty way.
Normally, I am an optimistic guy, but when I look at a remodel, I have seen so many weird things that I am skeptical of the other work done by others Tradies or remodelers that is hidden behind the walls.
Some surprises REALLY suck.
When your are contemplating a large or small remodel it is ALWAYS TRUE that no one wants to lose money or feel they are not being paid for or paying for a fair market value.
I have been on the losing end of a contract battle a few times.
It is true.
Money. Lost. Sucks.
I would have had a much better position, legally, if I had been better at documenting the change orders and getting them signed! I did way too many things on the old cocktail napkin and handshakes theory.
I took people at their word.
Some people are liars.
If you change the scope of work you have changed the contracted amount. You must update it with either a signed, dated change order, or a whole new contract.
A new contract is a lot of work, and is not necessary. A change order is a simple documentation of the additional charges due the remodeler and the credits due the customer.
Signed and dated.
This protects you both. A contract is legally binding. It is a business agreement. If the remodeler chooses he can come after you legally if he is not paid for work he has done.
The most common legal way to go after you is to put a lien on your mortgage. I do not want to get into all the legalities of this particular route, in this post, but suffice to say, it is not a pretty thing.
I will take you thru a simple legal process in a future post.
Most likely, it does not go so extreme, but it can. I know first hand.
Similarly, you can hold payment if the remodeler is not keeping up on his end of the bargain.
The point is that neither of you wants it to get ugly.
When something changes that is not in the original scope of work, you should get a change order. It should document the additional (or credited) materials and labor.
And you should sign it.
If it does go to the legal end of the spectrum, a well documented path make is much easier to facilitate the settlement.
If your remodeler does not use change orders or says he does not think they are necessary, that is a huge red flag.
almost guarantee these three things:
Water is wet.
The sky is blue.
You will have change orders.