A home renovation nightmare - one contractor’s story

The contractor is a member renovator of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association

In December 2015, I received a phone call from a homeowner who had seen our advertisement. She hoped we could help her out.

Her main floor bathroom had been torn out and gutted right down to the framing and concrete floor. Electrical had been partially disconnected and the plumbing drain and vent lines had been roughed in.

At that point, the bathroom had been sitting completely unusable for the last two months because the homeowner and the contractor had a disagreement regarding the scope of work for the renovation. With no clear written scope, both were unable to move forward. She could not even sit down with the contractor to have a reasonable discussion.

With over $6,000 already invested into the renovation, the homeowner’s only option was to find another contractor willing to pick up the pieces.

As we all know, picking up the pieces of someone else’s unfinished job is often more difficult than starting a job from scratch. It’s also more expensive because you have to sort through the mess of others. Because the homeowner had no written scope of work, she could not go to court or pursue other types of mediation or arbitration.

Everyone wants to get a good deal, and everyone deserves to pay a fair price. Homeowners, however, need to be aware: a cash deal will ALWAYS leave them vulnerable to untold risks.

If this particular homeowner walks away from this experience with just a loss of $6,000–the amount she already paid the original contractor–she should consider herself lucky. A little research upfront and demanding a written contract would have saved her a lot of money, time, and frustration.

Home renovation projects don’t need to be nightmares. For a complete guide on the right way to find and hire a contractor, visit: www.hiringacontractor.com.

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