April 15th, 2017 6:43 AM by Jackie A. Graves
Every good homeowner should
always be looking for ways to fix and improve his home. Small projects can
improve the value of your home, give it a more personal touch, and give you a
sense of accomplishment as you look at your improved living space. Even small
improvements such as replacing the faucet can make your home look more modern
and give it more value.
But for every smart fixer-upper,
there is another person who trashes his home and loses thousands of dollars
when he is forced to call a repairman to fix his mistakes. If you want to do
things yourself, here are some key tips to consider before just jumping into
any project that interests you.
You cannot just wing DIY
projects and hope for the best. Something is always going to go wrong. It may
be that you need additional supplies or that your planned exterior renovations
do not look quite right, but if you find yourself caught flatfooted in the
middle of a project, it is difficult to either slog on or go back to the way
So plan, plan, and plan some
Wanderlust Kitchen has
a great guide on steps which you should be thinking if you intend to completely
remodel your home, and notes the importance of making a plan now as well as
determining what can be done first and put off until later. Even if your home
renovation plans are not that ambitious, always assume that any project will
take more time and money than you would think.
A lot of homeowners hope that
by renovating their home, they may be able to make up the costs by increasing
its resale value. But most DIY projects are not going to be able to recoup
themselves and treating your home like an investment instead of a home is not a
Nevertheless, some home
improvement projects offer a better return than others. “Green”
improvements such as
double-paned windows or adding storm doors are very popular as is remodeling
your kitchen. By contrast, adding a pool may be enjoyable but are a major
turnoff for homeowners who would rather have a yard. If you are looking to
improve your home’s value, make sure to do renovations which you know people
years from now will value as opposed to something trendy.
There are far too many stories
when some brave, foolish soul attempts a DIY project because he does not want
to shame himself by calling a professional and ruins his house as a result.
While you can do some projects yourself if you know what you are doing, do not
hesitate to call a professional if you feel intimidated.
In particular, use
a professional if you
plan on making any changes to your home’s wiring, plumbing, or floors. This
especially applies to the first two, as a mistake there can either kill you or
see your home destroyed through a broken pipe. But if you intend to embark on a
DIY project, do your research and do not start until you feel sure that you are
ready to handle things.
If you intend to use a
professional to fix up your home, then you need to hire someone you can trust.
If you are careful, you can waste thousands of dollars on a contractor who will
do shoddy work if not outright scam you.
The best way to find a reliable
contractor is to ask friends and family if they know anyone who they trusted to
fix their homes. This is a strategy I used when looking for custom home builders
in Maryland, back in 2008. The contractor my brother had recommended
also came well reviewed on Yelp and other review sites, which should be your
second source. Once you have a name, call the contractor and ask for a face to
face interview before the two of you start working. Do not forget to ask for a
reference and discuss in detail what plans he might recommend for your
particular renovation and how he might do things differently. An expert opinion
should be always welcome.
You have drawn up the plans for
your home renovation, picked a contractor, and started working. But when you
are partially finished, you think about other renovations which would make your
home look even better and consider switching to another project. Or perhaps you
think that there is a better way to do your original project.
Avoid those lines of thinking.
There is nothing worse in home renovation than a half-finished project. And if
you try to change your project to accommodate your new interests, the end
result will be a bizarre amalgamation which will appeal to no one. Make a plan,
stick to the plan, and do not get distracted by other potential renovation
plans until you are finished with the first project.
By Michael Prywes - To
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