The Builder Contract
Sequim Custom Homes, Port Angeles Custom Homes
Red Flag Subject

The agreement between you and your builder is enforceable only if it is in writing, and that doesn't mean any writing.  It means you must have a good unambiguous contract that includes all the relevant terms of your agreement.  Having been a lawyer for 20 years, I could tell stories about poor contracts or lopsided contracts, and this is more important than most people realize. 

Anything you have not included in the contract will not be enforced, and anything that is included but can be construed in favor of the builder probably will be.  Judges favor contractors.  (They will deny that, but I have seen it in court many times.)

I've included a link to a good builder contract that I gave my clients when I practiced, and it is still a good contract.  But there is a trick, or should I say a trap for the unwary home builder.  If the specifications for materials to be used are attached and incorporated into the contract, as they should be, then you will want to be sure that you have complete specifications. 

What are complete specifications?  A few pages for specs is probably incomplete, almost guaranteed.  If your specs are only a few pages long, that gives the builder tremendous discretion to decide how to build YOUR home. 

Think of the specs for your new home just like the instructions for building a model airplane or a model plane.  Those instruction often include specs that are several pages.  Do you really think your dream home with a hundred special features and thousands of components and custom materials could possibly be on just a few pages?  Not likely.

An honest builder gives you a very detailed full set of specifications.  These specifications become part of your contract, and because the materials are laid out with such precision, you know what your paying for and what you will get. 

Lack of good specs attached to the contract is how many builders are able to legally get away with advertising very low per square foot prices, not only because they can use inferior materials, which are not identified in the specs, but also because they are in a good position to keep adding "extras" to your bill during the construction process.  I can tell a hundred stories about how this works with unethical builders, but I won't.  If you want to talk about these issues, you're welcome to email me or call me at 360-775-5424.  This is a free service I offer to good people who are planning to build in Sequim or Port Angeles. 

Here's a good builder contract, but of course, this contract does not include the specifications as an attachment.  By the way, you should not necessarily try to force your builder to use my contract, but you should make sure your builder's contract includes all the essentials of this contract, and you should make sure you have a mini-book of specifications for your house. 

By the way, if you are comparing builders and their price quotes, be certain you are comparing apples with apples.  Comparing a three page set of specs with a 15 page set of specs and basing your decision on price per square foot is NOT comparing apples with apples.  Get some professional help to do the comparison, or better yet, first go back to the builder with the longer set of specs and have him explain the difference.  You will be very interested in what you were NOT getting with the other builder.

It's easy to get in touch with me.  You choose:

1.  Call me at 360-775-5424 right now, or
2.  Email me at, or
3.  Complete this info request here.

Best regards,
Chuck Marunde, J.D.
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate
618 South Peabody St., Suite I
Port Angeles, Washington  98362
tel.:  360-775-5424
fax:  866-733-7135