Purchasing and renovating Real Estate
Hiring a contractor
I have heard stories where agreements between people and their contractors have become messy. How can I prevent this from happening to me?
The best way to avoid this is to have a written contract with the contractor. The contract should be very precise and not leave room for misinterpretation. The contract should include start and finish dates, exactly what needs to be done, the materials that will be used, the total cost and an appropriate payment plan.
If your project is very large and involves thousands of dollars it may be wise to obtain a lawyer to help you with the contract.
Should I pay my contractor a hefty down payment and then withhold the rest until the completion of the project?
The typical payment plan usually requires 10 per cent down and the rest in installments. It is a good idea to withhold the final payment for 40 days after the completion date to avoid being liable for a lien. If the contractor is unable to pay his suppliers or employees they may file a lien against your property. You should consult a lawyer about your rights if this happens.
Direct sellers who are home renovators cannot make a consumer pay more than 15 per cent of the total contract amount as a deposit before the expiration of the 10-day cooling-off period (the length of time you have to change your mind).
Is it necessary for me to hire a professional to design my plans?
That depends. In most cases your contractor will be able to help you with the design. You may even be able to do it yourself if you have some previous experience. However, if the design is very complex you may need to obtain professional services from an architect or engineer.
How can I determine if it is a reasonable price?
Ask three different contractors to provide price quotations. Check if the contractor will be bound by the price quoted and is not just providing an estimate. Be wary of price quotations that are significantly lower, as this may indicate low quality materials or careless workmanship.
How do I find a good contractor?
Ask friends, family and acquaintances. If you do not know anyone who has had similar work done, ask the contractor for references. Look at their work and ask their customers if they were pleased with the final result and cost.
Are there any legal issues I need to be aware of when hiring a contractor?
Check if your contractor is licensed as a direct seller by calling the Consumer Protection Division at (306) 787-5550 or 1-877-880-5550 (toll-free). You should also check if the contractor is registered as a legal entity in Saskatchewan by contacting the Corporations Branch at (306) 787-2962. You should also ensure that your contractor has both property damage and liability insurance, as well as workers' compensation coverage.