Before signing a home renovation contract

Before signing a home renovation contract
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The famous saying states that there are two seasons in Canada – winter and construction. Although, the winter is fighting for its calendar rights, it’s almost gone, meaning home renovation projects begin. It’s time to look for a home renovation contractor. Or maybe you already have somebody in mind? Anyway, do your homework: ask for references, check the Consumer Beware List to see if there are complaints against the contractor, search for the business name (sometimes a single contractor may run several businesses with different names). You may even visit the Better Business Bureau and/or Chambers of Commerce websites for any information they may have on the contractor.

Here, we would like to remind you about what experts recommend to keep in your mind before you sign a contract for home renovations or repairs:

  • Get at least 3 written estimates from different contractors.
  • Include the estimate as part of your contract – it is CRUCIAL! Because if you don’t, the final price of your home renovation project can be a few times over the initial estimates. And if you do, then the contractor cannot charge you more than 10% above the estimated cost (unless you have agreed in writing to new work or a new price). It is the law.
  • Keep your deposit to a minimum (no more than 10%)
  • Never ever pay the full amount before the work is done.
  • Try to avoid cash deals, but if you do pay in cash, make sure that you get a detailed and signed and dated receipt.
  • Carefully check all warranties and guarantees.
  • Ask about a work and payment schedule, if a sub-contractor will be needed who will pay for that, and who will clean a mess after the job is done.


One more thing, you can retain 10% of the contract price for 45 days after the project is done. This helps ensure the quality of the work and also protects you in case the contractor doesn’t pay the sub-contractor involved in your project.

Happy and fast renovation!

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