Home Improvement – The Top 10 Home Improvement Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Although a major home improvement can prove to be a rewarding project, it can also turn your life upside down if you are not prepared. I’ve heard of some worst case scenarios involving people who have lost their homes because they got in over their heads and others who ended up with incomplete project nightmares that cost them thousands of dollars to correct.

Following is a list of the top ten mistakes homeowners make when undertaking home improvement projects and tips on how to avoid them:

1. References. Do enough research and background checking to satisfy you. Walk away if the contractor is not willing to provide references from former clients. Do an online search of the contractor’s business and personal name. Check with local courts for judgments filed against them and with the Better Business Bureau for any consumer complaints. Look at previous work completed (in person). Check with material suppliers since a good contractor will have a long-standing relationship with suppliers. Contact other contractors who have worked with them before. Check their credit standing – contractors with bad credit are often disorganized and don’t manage their business well. Inquire about insurance, workers compensation and licensing.

2. Project management. You need one person to help you manage your project. Most issues occur when inexperienced homeowners try to manage their own project. A project manager is a single point of contact between the homeowner and other contractors and is responsible for scheduling and workflow.

3. Contracts. Make sure your contract is solid. As obvious as this may sound, failure to get a contract or signing an incomplete contract is one of the most common mistakes. Put all the details in writing – never take someone’s word for it. Following are items that should be included in the contract: (1) the full name of the company and the person you are doing business with and their contact information, (2) an addendum consisting of the complete set of plans, (3) an addendum consisting of the materials to be used, (4) the price of the goods or services, (5) the manner and terms of payment, (6) a description of the work to be performed, (7) a start date and an estimated completion date, (8) a default clause in the event either party defaults that specifies how damages will be calculated, (9) warranties and (10) signatures.

4. Warranties. Make sure you receive a warranty with detailed terms and conditions. Don’t accept a contract that simply states that all work is guaranteed. There is often confusion as to who is responsible for the warranty. Get the following in writing: (1) Who is backing the warranty? (2) What is covered and what is not covered? (3) How long is the warranty valid for? (4) What can void the warranty? (5) What is the process for placing a warranty claim?

5. Changes. During the project, you may change your mind on certain design aspects which may require more or less work from contractors. It is critical to document every change order and note the exact cost or savings. Changes should be signed and dated by all parties.

6. Plans. Get a clear description on what will be done, how it will be done and the materials to be used. For smaller projects, contractors can draw up plans. For larger and more complicated projects, find a qualified designer or architect. And, for example, if load-bearing walls will be altered, find an engineer to review the structural side of the plans.

7. Costs. Estimating costs tends to be a big problem because people do not make realistic comparisons. Homeowners may hire the contractor with the lowest price but that price may turn out to be much higher in the end. “Allowance items” tend to be the main culprit in estimating costs. For example, contractors may give you allowances for flooring, lighting or hardware that are artificially low. The bid looks enticing until you examine it closely. Request a line item for straight costs on materials and labor since some contractors mark up materials and labor so they can make a profit on it. Ask the contractor to pass along costs to you and to add a line item for their fee. This creates a more clear and honest assessment of the job.

8. Financing and payments. Before signing the contract, figure out how you are going to pay for your home improvement project. Make sure you maintain control of the money – don’t let your project manager or contractor control the money. This sounds obvious but many homeowners allow contractors to make draws on construction accounts only to realize that the draws were not used for the intended purpose. What does this mean? It means your contractor scored a new truck, you’re out of money and the project is incomplete. Tips: (1) don’t pay a lot of money up front, (2) pay when materials are delivered, (3) pay when work begins and (4) pay as work progresses. Pay only after work and materials are inspected and approved.

9. Inspections. Don’t wait until your home improvement project is almost complete to do the inspection. Plan phased inspections along the way so work doesn’t need to be re-done. Don’t rely on city and county building inspectors to protect you since the codes they enforce don’t guarantee quality (and they often miss things too!). Before paying for work, hire an independent inspector to do periodic phase inspections.

10. Materials. Stick with products that are tried and true. This rule especially holds true when it comes to windows, doors, framing materials, roofing products, concrete coverings, epoxy floors, plumbing, light fixtures and electronics. You don’t want to be the guinea pig that test runs the supposed latest and greatest new products or materials only to find out that these items don’t last or turn out to be fire hazards!

Home Improvement Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home

Facing the reality of fluctuating real estate market, there happens to be more home sellers than the buyers. This has changed the behavior of people looking to shop for a house as they have become choosy. So they have sensed that the seller badly wants to get on to his next home and he will do anything within reason to make the sale.

Many sellers have had to fall back on home improvement tips to ensure their house stands tall over the competition and it gets sold easily. Nevertheless, the key is in understanding which home improvement tips can intensify the value of your home for that grand sale.

Shared below are the most popular home improvement tips that will help raise the value of your home so it sells faster, for an improved price.

• If you want to make your home more sellable, then add a fitting glazing or windows with double-glazing inside existing windows. Wooden frames are a fitting choice in a home makeover. Avoid using plastic at all cost, as it may bring down the value of your home.

• Buyers tend to stay away from properties with slow and lethargic broadband. Therefore, you have to ensure your broadband is superfast by fitting a satellite broadband. All you have to do is fit a dish to your house so you can get a broadband that can go superfast to be able to stream music, data and TV without breaks.

• Simple home improvements like rendering unappealing bricks, changing concrete roof tops with slates, painting the front door afresh, keeping your fence clean, hanging baskets and flower pots, mowing your lawns and trimming the hedges, all increase your home value and create a welcoming impression for any would-be buyer.

• Expand your house by nicely fitting in one or two more bedrooms. If you’ve got a four bedroom house and only one bedroom, you could add another room including an en-suite to the master bedroom. Additional fittings like new taps, power shower and a heated towel rail add more value to your home improvement endeavors. You can employ a glass door shower screen to replace the not-so-loved shower curtain.

• You can bring the outdoor feeling into your home for extra value. You can do this by creating a treehouse for kids in your sunken garden or a fire pits for adults with bi-fold doors leading to the garden. This will give a feeling of an additional reception room in the home, which surely attracts intending buyers. You can make cheaper improvements by increasing the lighting and minimizing maintenance by cutting down trees that do not enhance the beauty of the garden. Always check if you are in a conversation area before chopping down any fruit trees.

• Acquire a wood burner for your home. Open fire places offer huge comfort but a remote controlled gas, wood, electric or multi-fuelled fire is much easier to maintain. A wood burner is better at fuel efficiency, so go with it. A good wood burner that lights up at all times gives the feeling that your house is always warm and lively.

• Get rid of old furniture and equally of the large items that take up large spaces in your house to give way to a much bigger area and more open appearances. Replace the old furniture with nice fitting new ones.

Other few home improvement tips to increase your home value include patching all holes and cracks, and then, retouching with a neutral color. Repainting the interior of the house works wonders too. Anything else you can do to outwardly shore up the appearance of your home will surely help to increase its value, rightly positioning it for a quick sale.

Affordable and Applicable Home Improvement Tips

Everyone wants to upgrade and renovate his/her house in affordable way. Budget is the major factor of consideration. If your budget does not allow you to start major renovation projects such as adding new room or changing floor or alteration in room dimensions you can also go for less expensive affordable home improvements. Minor changes may results in remarkable difference in your home. With less expensive improvement projects you can improve your home and also save money for major renovation project. There are various styles available you can chose such as Victorian, country and modern. Now day’s modern style is most popular home décor. Due to popularity modern home décor has become expensive. But there are still some ways to upgrade your home in affordable way. You can take advantage of certain affordable home improvement tips for affordable home improvement.

Affordable Home Improvement Tips
Affordable home improvement tips allow you to upgrade your home in less expensive way. Following are some affordable home improvement tips.

Use of Inexpensive Home Decorating Items
Use of inexpensive objects to decorate your home is the most easy affordable home improvement tip. You can use inexpensive home decorating accessories to make your house look impressive. Such accessories include curtains, fancy cushions and table covers that look compatible with the pattern and main wall color. This will make your room warmer and modern. Even a good family photograph at suitable place can add character to your room.

Paint
Paint is also less expensive and easy way to give brand new look to your home. You can select any color of your choice. You can use paint on old furniture, walls and floors to give new look. You can also create different designs with paint.

Mirrors
Addition of mirror to any place can make your room look larger than its actual size. It is best for small rooms. In larger rooms you can also use mirrors. Mirrors look great above fireplaces, beds, dressers and in bathrooms. It gives instant fresh look without making complete changes in every thing. It is also a useful and affordable home improvement tip.

Fabrics
Fabric is easy to use in different ways. You can use it in lot of creative ways. It is not necessary that you must buy new fabric to use. You can even use old fabrics in your house. Normally everyone has old table cloths and scarves in their homes. You can change the look of old furniture by simply covering it with cloth. You can also make pictures by covering canvas boards with beautiful scarves or cloth. This is very cheap way to add look as compared to buying expensive show pieces from stores.

Old Furniture
Another affordable home improvement tips is simply change the setting of your old furniture and give a fresh look to your house. This can be done by simply putting same furniture in other room with different theme. You can make your furniture look different by painting it with different color or by covering it with fabrics.

Stenciling
It is also a simple home improvement tip to make your room alive. Stencils are easily available. It can easily paste on the walls. You need to paint them and remove them. It will leave a nice and clearly defined design to add character to your room. It can also used on fabrics and furniture.

Photographs
Beautifully framed photographs are also good option for adding value to your room. It is very affordable home improvement tip for those who have limited budget to renovate your room. The only cost is framing of photograph. Photographs can give pleasant effect to your room.

Working with what you already have
Utilizing all the things you already have is also an affordable home improvement tip. Most people purchased decorating items that does not match with furniture you have. To solve this issue you must try to purchase things that are compatible with other things you already have.