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Is a fill-in-the-blank construction contract reason for concern?

If you've ever been a part of the new construction of a home or decided to do a renovation project with the help of a contractor, chances are you've had to sign some sort of contract that included terms and conditions specific to that project. Because of the nature of contracts though, these agreements between parties can be as simple or as complex as you'd like them to be.

That having been said, has a contractor ever handed you what appeared to have been a fill-in-the-blank style contract? If so, you're not alone. Some contractors in California and across the nation prefer to use what seems like a template contract because a lot of the same language is used time and again from contract to contract. By having clients sign a fill-in-the-blank style contract, the contractor can save time and money because they do not have to draft up a new contract each and every time.

But if you have been asked to sign a fill-in-the-blank style contract, you may have had some questions about its legality. You may have even asked yourself the question we're asking today: is a fill-in-the-blank construction contract reason for concern? And the answer, you will soon see is both yes and no.

A construction contract doesn't have to be incredibly eloquent or filled with legal terminology to be considered valid. It does, however, have to contain terms and conditions that are specific to the project at hand. This means that just because a past project cost a few thousand dollars and took several months to complete, the same may not be true about your project. If a contractor decides to use a fill-in-the-blank contract, neglecting the specific terms and conditions of a contract can lead to possible disputes and litigation down the road.

Before signing a fill-in-the-blank contract, make sure that it contains specific references to your particular project. Make sure that your obligations and those of the contractor are clearly stated and that you both agree to what the contract is saying. When in doubt, you can always talk to a lawyer who can review the contract and help correct any possible hiccups that could lead to potential legal problems later on.

Source: TIME, "7 Things Every Remodeling Contract Must Have," Josh Garskof, March 9, 2015

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