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RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 28035
Experience:  10+ years in handling Leases, Landlord-Tenant, Foreclosures,Mortgages, and Eviction cases
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my wife and I signed a contract with a contractor to provide

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my wife and I signed a contract with a contractor to provide design plans for a home. Phase 1 was to cost $3000.00 for design of the home . Phase 2 was for building plans cost to be negotiated prior to starting work. after approximately 2 months the contractor gave us a cost to build that was approximately $130,00.over the budget we had given him in preliminary talks. We told him we would not be building at his cost and canceled the project.8 days after cancellation he submitted a bill for $3000.00 for engineering services and final drawings (which we have never received) Are we liable for the cost of these drawings and engineering services? we live in Florida
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good afternoon. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. Did the contractor know you had a certain budget to work with, for the building of the home? If so, why would be come in with plans that would cost $130,000 over budget? Did he try and design the home to fit within your budget? I am trying to understand the purpose behind his design, when it was outside the budget which you gave him and he failed to provide you are alternatives.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

You did not answer my question am I liable for the $3000.00 cost for final plans and engineering services for Phase 2 ?

I was trying to obtain some additional information so I could expand on my answer but I will respond per you request, with the information that I have. Based upon the facts which you stated above, you should not be liable for the cost of plans and documents he prepared for Phase 2, since your approval of Phase 1, was a condition precedent for the work going forward. There was no point in the contractor moving on to Phase 2, until Phase 1 was approved. If the contractor was hired to design a home that fit within your budget and failed to do so, an argument could be made that he was in breach of the contract and failed to perform. What good is a home that is designed if you can not afford it. It would have been one thing if you were presented with a few different designs to select from but in this case, it appears he only provided one design, which was 130k over budget. Until you approved the design, he should not have proceeded to Phase 2, since it was conditioned upon the acceptance of Phase 1, which did not happen. In a situation like this, you may want to respond to him and inquire as to why he proceed with the second phase without your approval and when he decided to do this, after you canceled the job. It would appear he is trying to get paid on work which he did in anticipation of this but since it was never authorized or approved, he may be out of luck with collecting. The burden would be on him, as the moving party, to show you owe this money and the work was contracted for.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We did approve the design of the Phase 1 plans and did pay the $3000 for the home design plans. The contractor dragged his feet for over 2 month before giving us his cost which we rejected and cancelled the project. He then gave us the final bill for the disputed $3000. Should I try to negotiate the price down and settle or should I contact a local attorney(Cape Coral Florida) and turn the matter over to the attorney. ?

Thank you for the additional information. Absent a time in which the contractor has to provide you with everything for Phase 2, stated within the contract, the time should have been reasonable. 2 months does not seem reasonable and if you canceled the project prior to him providing you the plans and documents, it would likely be at his own loss. He could always make an argument that they were complete by that time but he would need to show what took 2 months to finalize. In a situation like this, you should certainly try and negotiate a lower payment to settle this. Why? Because he likely does not want to go after you and try to sue, which could take time, effort and money and may not even result in a favorable decision by the Judge. As such, you can certainly make him an offer for less that what he demands, which you think is reasonable and see what he has to say. If he rejects it, you can them retain an attorney to handle the matter. Try and resolve this yourself prior to, so that you do not waste the money on an attorney, when you could take care of this on your own.

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