Marcus Vaden Law - June 2020. 501-354-4577 06.20

600 South German Lane, Suite 102, Conway, AR 72034 • 501-354-4577

Ensuring Success in Personal and Business Relationships Protect Yourself and Your Family

Regardless of how well you know your business partner, you need to know their credentials and have a well-written contract. Likewise, relying on loved ones in a business venture can be tricky if you don’t have a contract outlining both party’s responsibilities in the event something goes wrong. A couple of my clients recently contracted with a relative to build their dream home, and things didn’t go well. My clients, a husband and wife, are distantly related to a home builder who proclaimed himself a fantastic craftsman who builds upscale homes. So after signing a contract for $250,000, they were confident he could build their dream home. At first, it looked like a great deal, and since they were all related, the couple thought they could trust him. They were building their new home on a sloped lot, but apparently, the home builder didn’t know how to properly build a foundation on a slope. To work around this, he simply piled loads of dirt inside the foundation walls without properly packing the dirt so that it would support the weight of the house. While the house is filled with beautiful cabinetwork and trim, the floor gave out just a month after they moved in. As the floors buckled and collapsed, the center of the house sank into a bowl about 12 inches lower than where the floor initially sat. Also, the cabinets began to detach from the walls, door frames began to crack, and the plumbing started to leak. After a protracted legal battle, we obtained a judgment against the builder for more than $125,000. The builder then immediately filed bankruptcy to try and protect his $500,000 home, his boat, and his four- wheelers. The lesson here is this: Before working with another party in any industry, make sure you check their references, credentials, and previous work and ask around your community about them. As Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust, but verify.”

After examining a potential business partner’s previous work and reputation, make sure you and they understand your mutual obligations and write these clearly in the contract. By signing a contract, you are binding yourself to those responsibilities. Claiming that you didn’t read the entire document as a reason to get out of it later won’t work in court. Next, have a lawyer or someone knowledgeable in the field, like a fellow contractor, look over the contract. Sometimes when you’re presented a deal, it may align nicely with what you want, but it could put you at a disadvantage if the unforeseen happens. Be very careful. Read the fine print and understand exactly what you’re getting into. If you need help reviewing a contract to ensure you understand what your obligations are and both parties have equal protection, then feel free to reach out anytime. We’ll make sure you’re crystal clear on the details of your contract.

-Marcus Vaden

Marcus Vaden Law’s Communication Policy

We would love to take each call that comes through our office; however, to maintain an efficient workplace and to ensure you get undivided attention, we ask that you schedule an appointment in advance to speak with your

attorney. Please feel free to contact the paralegal on your case for questions concerning routine matters or other inquiries, as we have an experienced team standing by to help you. | 1

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