Avoid Poor Warranty Offers & Being Exposed to Liens

During the process of choosing a remodeler to tackle a renovation project, whether large or small, most homeowners base their decision on the remodeler’s past projects, recommendations of friends and family, and price.  In my last installment of 19 Secrets to Top Home Remodeling, I will discuss two items that are usually an afterthought in the decision-making process, but that can make or break your project in the long run: warranty offerings and exposure to liens.

Offering A Poor Warranty

When under pressure to increase profits, unscrupulous contractors will do what they can to save money, even if that means offering a shoddy guarantee (or none at all). When talking to a potential remodeler, keep the following in mind:

  • Anybody can say they have a warranty.  Make sure to ask to see a written copy of it before you assume everything they say is true.
  • Read the fine print.  Some contractors may be able to produce a legitimate warranty, but if you read the fine print to see what is included, you may find large gaps in coverage.
  • The lowest risk contractors will offer a multi-year written warranty.  This type of quality is interested in making sure you are happy with the project for a long time because referrals are a big part of his business.

Leaving You Exposed To Liens

It is vital that you ask your contractor to provide you with a written lien waiver at the end of the job.  This is a legal document, which says you, the homeowner, have paid the contractor in full for the services rendered and the contractor waives his right to place a mechanic’s lien on your property.  Things to keep in mind:

  • If during the course of construction
    you receive any Notice to Owner documents from material suppliers or
    sub-contractors, you need to ask the contractor for a Final Release of Lien
    from each one prior to paying the contractor in full.  This protects you if the contractor fails to
    pay his material suppliers or sub-contractors after you have already paid him
    in full.
  • Many times an unscrupulous contractor
    will disappear before the end of a project.  This leaves the homeowner with a series of
    liens from unpaid suppliers.  The
    homeowner has paid the contractor but if the contractor did not pay the
    subcontractors and suppliers they can place a lien on your home and you are
    still legally responsible.  Unfortunately
    any lien on a property prevents the homeowner from refinancing a mortgage or
    even selling the home.

For those of you that have been following my 19 Secrets to Top Home Remodeling, you should be well prepared to hire a quality home remodeler.  Stay tuned for a wrap up of 19 Secrets to Top Home Remodeling in one blog post. I wish you all the best of luck with your future remodeling projects!