Two cases amplify the importance of having a detailed contract that defines expectations in terms of the work to be done and the cost of the project. In one case a homeowner hired a friend and then relied on verbal exchanges to frame the terms and expectations of the work to be done. Now there’s a suit because the homeowner and contractor don’t agree on the work done nor on what the work cost. The homeowner could have avoided the suit by using a contract to describe the work to be done and the money to be paid. The homeowner should have also not used a friend as such can complicate matters and ruin friendships when things don’t work out.
In the second case there was a contract, but again the homeowner hired a friend. In this case like the first one a suit has been filed because the homeowner and contractor disagree about the work done and the cost of what was done. It’s likely this suit could also have been avoided by having a more detailed contract and by more closely monitoring the work being done.
If you’re considering a home improvement project you should get three written estimates of the work to be done. Also get references. And before you sign the contract ensure the contractor is licensed and bonded and experienced with the work to be done. You should also check with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to see if the contractor has ever been fined or had his/her license suspended. While taking these steps won’t ensure everything will go perfectly they should reduce the likelihood that you’ll wind up in court arguing over what was to be done and how much it was going to cost.