It does not matter if you bought a newly built home, a fixer-upper or a condo in a maintained community— owning your own place usually brings about a home improvement itch in some people. Even if it doesn’t, at some point it will require us to do some basic maintenance and repair tasks.
Before you give in to that universal itch, here are 5 things that you should know before you start improving and repairing your home.
Have a Plan
One of the worst things to happen in terms of home improvement is starting a renovation project without any major details of how it’s supposed to go— design, materials, time and cost— be as realistic as you can from the start.
Nothing will cost more than having second thoughts like changing your tile choice or moving an appliance somewhere else. Consider using design tools to conceptualize your home improvement project and add a healthy buffer of 10 – 15 percent on top of that to your final budget and renovation time to account for those inevitable surprises.
Be Realistic About Your Timeline And Get Ready For Inconveniences
Although you have a plan, know that it will usually take longer than expected. Thus you need to be prepared to make adjustments to avoid any frustration.
Also, if you’re planning a major renovation, you will likely be inconvenienced. You will not be able to use the rooms while the project is ongoing. Consider how you will manage without those facilities as well as the time of the year and how uncomfortable you might be during the project.
Expect The Unexpected
All homes hold dirty secrets— under the floor, in the walls, behind your appliances, everywhere. And a home renovation can bring those secrets to light. For instance, when moving the fridge aside, you might notice a leak of some sort or weird noises coming from it which will need to be repaired before you start.
You can either troubleshoot it yourself or have repair services do the hard work for you. Regardless, you might find something else to deal with during the renovation project that you might not have anticipated.
Permits For Major Works
Depending on the state you reside in, you might need to secure permits before starting any renovation projects. Contractors should offer the costs for all permits on the quoted estimate and they are usually responsible for securing permits from local offices unless you’d rather do it yourself.
Major home improvements that might require local permits include electrical and plumbing work, structural changes such as building a deck or patio and new structures like fences and windows. Regardless, your city council office should have all the information for home projects and improvements that will require permits.
Choosing The Right Contractor
You won’t have trouble finding contractors willing to manage your renovation project. However, finding the right contractor will definitely take some time.
In your planning stages, make sure you interview multiple contractors. Ask them about their communication and work style, their costs and to provide references. This should help you in choosing a professional who can ensure that your project runs smoothly.
Another option is to ask family and friends for their recommendations. Consult those in your network that you can trust. Ask contractors for any videos and/or photos of their most recent projects. Those who actually know what they are doing and run a reputable and solid business will have no problem showing off what they are capable of. Remember that experience heavily counts in this regard.
Furthermore, the BBB, or Better Business Bureau, advises every homeowner to consider contractors that are a member of a professional association which will ensure that they adhere to specific standards or code of ethics. All BBB Accredited businesses uphold the BBB standards of ethics in the marketplace. BBB reports can show you just how long a company has been in the business, posted reviews (negative or positive), complaint detail as well as any known government actions.
When done properly, home improvement projects not only add value to your home but also comfort and confidence. On the other hand, these projects can bust your wallet and end up failing miserably if you neglect to plan ahead. However, with the above tips, you will definitely steer your home renovation towards success.