Top Ten Home Improvement Tips
Are you planning to make any improvements to your current home or to a home you just bought? Here are ten tips and tricks to improve your chances of being delighted when you return.
Resale. Even if you plan to stay in the house, think about the next owner. Making sure your updates add resale value will give you all the options. Think about kitchen improvements, opening up spaces, adding a deck, installing hardwood floors, and upgrading windows.
Planning. Spend a lot of time planning what you want. Head over to IKEA to check out storage options and spaces and go online to Houzz for ideas. Ask your planner or contractor to show you exactly what the updates will look like in 3D. You don’t want to come to the end of the job and say, “Oh, I wish I had …”
Contractor. Choose wisely and get three offers. Talk to your clients and walk through your work. Request your insurance certificate.
Contract. Get a detailed contract and go over it with a fine tooth comb. A general idea of the job and a handshake won’t work unless you don’t care what you end up with.
Plan some surprises. Surprises are inevitable, but they should be minimal if you did your planning. Set aside some extra money for them: 10% of your remodeling budget. If you don’t need to use it, great.
Don’t buy your own supplies. If you think you are going to save money specifying and purchasing your own materials, you may regret it. Contractors don’t like practice and are better at picking and negotiating than homeowners. Do not worry; they will let you make all the decisions, but will let them handle the transactions and the collateral.
Pack as many things as you can in the areas of the house that will receive the job. Contractors hate having to negotiate lots of clothes and toys, and the job is a terrible mess.
Stay out of the way. I know it’s fun to watch and you want to stay on top of the job too, but contractors will be so much happier if you trust them to get the job done without you looking over your shoulder or worse, trying to help.
Minimize changes midway. In the midst of renovations, we sometimes find that something needs to be changed in the plan. If you are very convinced of it, it is better to piss off the contractor now than to live with it later.
Have a professional review the work. Even if the remodels are small, have an independent contractor or home inspector review what was done before issuing the final check. The few hundred dollars you spend on a consultation will ensure your happiness and reduce surprises later.