10 Things Every San Diego Homeowner Should Be Aware of Before Signing a Home Remodeling Contract

Making the decision to remodel your home is exciting. It’s important not to get lost in the excitement. If something goes wrong or you encounter any unpleasant surprises, the excitement can quickly turn to frustration. It’s important to have all the necessary information documented before you sign a remodeling agreement so you and the remodeling contractor will both be aware of what is expected for the project. Below are 10 things you should know before signing a home remodeling project.

Down Payment

To start a project a contractor usually asks for a down payment. By law, the down payment can only be 10% or $1000, whichever is less. If a contractor asks for more than that in California, they are breaking the law.

Scope of Work and Quote

A scope of work covers exactly what will be completed in your remodeling project. The quote will state the amount of money that will be paid for that work. It’s important to know exactly what will be covered in writing for the price you will pay.

Work Order Changes

If unexpected or additional work is added to the project, there should be a process in place for adding the work and the additional amount that it will cost. Often, this is done with a change order that will have to be approved by both parties and added to the original quote.

License Information

If a project will cost over $500, a licensed contractor is required. The homeowner should verify that their license is current and in good standing. To check the status of a contractor license, go to the license check page on the CSLB (Contractor State License Board) website and enter the license number of the contractor. You can also search by business name, personal name, HIS (Home Improvement Salesperson) name or HIS number.


Be certain that your contractor has proof of insurance. This is for your safety. Liability insurance protects your property from any damage that a contractor may cause to your property. Workers’ comp insurance protects you if a worker gets hurt on your property. You can verify insurance information on the CSLB website as well.


A bond protects you from incomplete work or work that is sub-par. The contractor pays a surety company for the bond. The surety company’s bond protects the consumer. As with license and insurance, you can verify bond information on the CSLB website.

Point of Contact

You will most certainly have more than one worker on your property with any sizable project. A point of contact facilitates communication. This is usually a project manager. The person should be familiar with your project. They will give you updates and you can address any concerns that you may have.


It is important to have a start date and an estimation of when the project will be completed. The areas you are remodeling may not be accessible during the renovation. You can make other arrangements during this time and know approximately how long it will be until you are able to use the area.

HOA Approval

If you live in an area run by an HOA, you may need to get approval for your project. This is especially true on exterior projects. Make sure that your plan is approved by the HOA before signing a contract. Building without an approved plan could require removal of your project and fines by the HOA.

City Permits

Even without an HOA, your plan will still have to be approved by the city. Building without an approved plan could result in fines and mandatory project removal by the city. Make certain that you get all necessary approval from any authorities before starting your project.
There may be other information you need to have documented and agreed upon for your specific project. The point of the article is to make certain you have that important information covered. This way there are no loose ends. This is important for all parties involved.