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What to include in a construction contract to avoid a dispute

Let's face it, not everyone finds their dream home already built and ready for purchase when it comes time to buy a home. For a lot of people, they want their home to have all of the amenities and features they want, which means they may have to either overhaul an existing property or start from scratch with a new construction.

Whatever ends up being the case, these two scenarios have one thing in common: they might involve a contract with a contractor, subcontractor or builder. But just as every home has its differences from the one next to it, so too can contracts. In situations of new construction or remodeling, there is no one-size-fits-all contract that can address the specific nature of these projects. That's why a contract should be tailored to your needs and expectations.

Because not all of our Florida readers are experts in contract law though, we wanted to highlight a few elements that any good contract should include, especially when it comes to construction projects. That way, our readers will know when they are being handed a fill-in-the-blank style contract and when they may need the experience of a real estate lawyer.

The first thing to look out for is whether or not the contract includes a full description of what work will be performed and what materials are needed for the project at hand. In relation to this section, the contract should also include a section that specifies when the project will start and when it will end. Does your contractor or builder want to make any changes? Make sure you get a description of these in writing before changes are made so that you have something to show in the event this leads to litigation.

It's a good idea to also make sure that your contract includes a section on how the other party will be paid and how frequently. In some circumstances, it may be best to pay the contractor while in others paying the supplier directly is a better option. Also, talk about a contractor's use of liens, which can put a hold on your property if you fail to pay for services or materials.

Above all else, having a lawyer review your contract is considered a good idea. That way, you can truly make sure everything is in accordance with the law.

Source: TIME, "7 Things Every Remodeling Contract Must Have," Josh Garskof, March 9, 2015

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