First time homebuilders almost always become expert advisors to those who follow them down the path to hell. Those whose path that ends in a newly constructed home rarely consider that route to have given a glimpse of heaven. The reason?
Now, I’m not saying that building contractors are the minions of Satan. Not all of them anyway. But you may well think your home building contractor was in league with devil unless you learn beforehand how to avoid common problems. It is all a matter of learning that you need to get as much as possible written into any contract to which you sign your name.
It is impossible to own a home without a contractor to take care of the finer points in the trade for it is he that looks after everything so that there is no scope for problems that every new home builder is wary of.
Unless you love the art of negotiation, this process can also become a boulevard that gives you a tourist’s vision of the fiery pits of the underworld. Take an assertiveness training course before you settle in for negotiations with a building contract. Trust me: it will be money well spent. Then it’s time to know those special things to negotiate ahead of the home construction process. While many other elements are also important, here are three absolutely vital things you want to make sure you negotiate into your homebuilding contract.
Brand Name Estimates
Get as detailed an estimate on possible on building materials to ensure you get what you paid for. Demand it! Make sure your contract requires the contractor to list not just the materials that are going to be used, but the brand name of those materials. This way you have leverage if you need to sue for use of off-brand products of lesser quality.
Firm Start and End Date
The start date is usually not where the big problems in home construction can be found, but make sure you get it in writing anyway just in case a sudden delay of a month or two cramps your plans. The biggie here is really the end date. Firm end dates come with a built-in negotiation for weather conditions and other reasonable delays. What you are really negotiating here for is not a day on the calendar by which your home will be built whether for good or bad, but a written guarantee about what happens if the schedule falls behind to such an extent that completion is going to continue well past any estimate date. Here are the words you want to hear and get written into the contract: construction that falls hopelessly behind schedule guarantees that the contractor will hire more workers or pay current workers overtime on his dime to make sure the home is completed by the ending date window.
It’s not really called a Contentment Clause, but that’s the effect you want. Do not walk away from your negotiation with a home contractor without an agreement that upon completion of the house, you will inspect the result with the contractor in tow. During this walk you will make a list of all problems you want resolved with the understanding that final payment will be delayed until you are content.