Home Improvement Tips

Home Improvement Tips

Many individuals want to remodel their house into their dream home, but they have no idea how to get started on their home improvement redesigns. There are two major areas homeowners need to concentrate on to ensure a smooth remodel: which home improvement project(s) to focus on and how to hire a remodeling contractor.

Adding Value with Home Improvement

When a homeowner is looking to quickly sell their house, they will often try to install upgrades for the cheapest cost. This plan often backfires. While installing inexpensive laminate flooring may seem like an upgrade over dated linoleum, prospective home buyers can tell it is a cheap upgrade. Just as you yearn for real hardwood floors in your next home, so too does the potential buyer.

When you pick your home improvement projects, focus on the ones that will add value to your home. Some examples include adding or upgrading a bathroom, adding a bedroom, and kitchen remodels. When redesigning your kitchen, set your budget to 5-15% of your house’s total value as this is about how much your kitchen represents of your house’s worth. So, for example, if your home is worth $300,000 your target budget for a kitchen remodel should be $15,000-$45,000.

Hire the Right Contractor

How successful your remodeling projects turn out depends a lot on your contractor’s skills and experience. To ensure you hire the right contractor, consider the following:

  1. Get recommendations from friends, family, and neighbors. You can draw upon their experiences and get a few solid leads right away.
  2. There is a caveat to the above. Even if you get good recommendations from friends, you still need to ask the contractor for references. Any contractor should be able to supply you with multiple references; if they cannot, that is a major red flag. You may find that although this contractor was great for your friend two years ago, he may have recently hired a new crew that is not up to the same standard.
  3. Once you have a good list of potential contractors, check online reviews for complaints. Your contractor is obviously going to provide references that liked his work. Online reviews can even the playing field. It may be that a certain contractor is always late or is rude to certain individuals for whatever reason. Your research can help narrow your list of contractors even further.
  4. Find out what licenses and permits are needed—do not rely on the contractor to know this information. Each city has different rules and regulations. To ensure that the work is done legally and to code, do the foot work yourself.
  5. Make sure the contractor and workers have insurance. This is an extremely important step that many homeowners forget or skip altogether. If the contractor or his workers don’t have insurance and get injured while on your property, you ultimately foot the medical bill.
  6. Meet with multiple contractors at the job site. You will want to walk through the job(s) with the contractor to avoid costly miscommunications. This will also give you a feel for the contractor’s personality. If the contractor is impolite or does not listen to you, strongly consider a different contractor. You need a contractor who communicates well.
  7. Get quotes in writing and track them with a spreadsheet. One contractor may appear to be significantly cheaper than the others, but, when you compare the quotes, you may find his parts cost is half that of the other contractors. Find out why so you don’t get a nasty shock later in the project such as skyrocketing prices or shoddy work with inferior parts.

While it can be tempting to skimp on materials or opt for the lowest quote, you may end up unhappy with the results. By focusing on home improvement projects that improve the value of your home and hiring the right contractor for the job(s), you can ensure a successful renovation.