Home Improvement Guide: A Checklist of Suggestions

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According to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity report released at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, remodeling spending is projected to be at its peak this year. Rising home values and tightening for-sale inventories in several housing markets in the country are cited as among the reasons that will encourage homeowners to consider home improvement projects.

If you’re thinking of replacing your roof, windows, or doors, then you are in good company. And you and your family can look forward to a slew of advantages – ranging from enhanced curb appeal to better energy efficiency. But careful planning and execution still need to be done to make sure that you get to harness everything that you wish from your remodeling.

To better ensure the success of your project, consider these suggestions.

Know what you want.

Your goals are integral to your remodeling project. Do you want to improve overall curb appeal and live in a home that stands out from the rest of the neighborhood? Do you want to switch to a more energy efficient roofing system to net savings from your electrical bills? Or do you want to improve your home’s protection from the elements in the event of inclement weather? You need to be clear on what you need to do so that you can accordingly plan your project towards its completion.

Think about every detail.

If you are remodeling to fix an issue you have in your home, make sure that you are tackling the right exterior or interior component. If you have, say, drafts in your home, your windows and doors should be thoroughly checked – but air leaks can also come from faulty foundation seals, attic hatches, and even electrical outlets. Before getting the project started, make sure that you will not be wasting your time and money on something that later turns out to be unnecessary.

Research your options.

Once you have a good idea of what you’re doing and what you want from it, the next thing to do is to look at your options and find out as much as you can about them. If you’re thinking of a complete roof tear-off to install a more energy efficient one, you should consider all the materials that are suitable to this goal. Draw up pros and cons, and read up on other people’s experiences.

Choose your materials.

When choosing your materials for your home remodeling project, it is necessary to look at several factors. Number one is budget, as some materials fetch higher prices compared to others. You should also look at how a certain material will perform in your specific region. Some materials, such as asphalt, will not fare that well in hot weather. In addition, consider the material’s product life. It will hardly be a successful remodel if you will have to replace the material just a few years after the project.

Get the right help.

Here comes the fun part. Everything that you have planned, thus far, is going to be handed to your contractor – so it is important to choose the right one. Don’t be lazy about this process. Ask for quotes from several potential candidates, instead of just sticking to one and asking them for a contract. It is also vital to verify your contractor’s credentials. In some states, home improvement should be done by a licensed contractor; in others, contractors need to be registered. There are minute differences between the different localities, and it is important to know what yours requires. Also, choose a contractor that offers a comprehensive warranty program, as well as insurance.

Get it in writing.

A written contract should be signed by both parties before the start of the project. It should include, but not be limited to:

  • the scope of the work
  • start and finish dates
  • specific materials to be used, including product numbers and brands
  • regulatory requirements; and
  • guarantees and warranties

Do not forget that whatever is not stipulated in your contract may incur an extra cost. If you are not satisfied with what your contractor has furnished, negotiate until you get a better deal. Do not sign a contract that you do not agree with.  

Document everything.

Once the project is underway, make sure to record everything. Note if your contractor has been arriving according to schedule, and examine whether projected milestones and materials have been accomplished and followed. This will save you a lot of hassles down the road.

Raise concerns as soon as you see them.

If you do not like anything during the course of the project, speak up immediately. Bring your notes and ask for the necessary explanations or modifications. Your contractor should be able to appease your concerns without the need for escalation. But if an issue arises that cannot be fixed by your contractor, make a firm decision accordingly. For instance, if there is structural damage that should be addressed before the project can continue, you will most likely have to insist that the contractor deal with it before anything else.

Manage your expectations.

If you are going to stay in your home while the project is being carried out, it is important to remember that it will hardly be very pleasant. Thus, make contingency plans for when the noise gets too much, or the mess becomes unbearable. As much as possible, try to set the working schedule to days and times that will be least inconvenient for you and your family.

ask your remodeler to help you set and condition your expectations before the start of the project.Click To Tweet

Home improvement projects can be a breeze to carry out as long as you do your part. As a homeowner, being on top of things – at least knowing exactly what is going on and when, and making sure that all specifications in the contract are adhered to – will make the difference between what you might consider a successful project and a failed one. Seeing a project through to its successful completion won’t only be satisfying, it’ll bring you good returns on your investment and a more pleasant, beautiful home to live in, besides.

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Author Bio:

Dave Becker has more than 25 years of industry experience serving the homeowners of Wichita, Kansas and surrounding areas. Dave and his team at Mid America Exteriors believe that honesty, hard work, and dependability are an essential part of delivering expert home improvement services. Another important component of a successful home improvement project is education – and Dave enjoys sharing what he has learned over his career by writing articles about home improvement.

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