Home Improvement Project Considerations

Home improvement projects are popular DIY projects, because it is the belief that if you can do it yourself, you will not only save money, but will also increase the value of your property. While this can sometimes be true, it is not necessarily always the case. Before you decide to take on a home improvement project yourself, ask yourself the following questions. Be honest with your answers.

  • Do you have the necessary tools necessary to complete your home improvement project?

If not, do you know someone that will be able to loan you the tools for the duration of your home improvement project, or will you have to incur the cost of purchasing them yourself?

  • Do you have the spare time to complete your home improvement project in a reasonable amount of time?

There are safety issues to consider with any home improvement project, but especially with one that will remain uncompleted. If you cannot put forth the time needed to finish the project, how will your protect yourself and your family from injury?

  • Will you need assistance? If so, do you have access to a skilled laborer that is willing to donate his time?

Don’t just assume that a friend will be willing to spend an entire weekend helping out. Before you begin any home improvement project, make sure you have the help necessary to complete it. There are some home improvement projects that, by law, must be done by a trained professional. Also, check with your home insurance company to ensure that home improvement projects completed by novice workers are covered under your policy; they usually aren’t.

  • Would a professional laborer be able to purchase the materials needed at a cheaper price than you can get them yourself?

Contractors and other professional laborers often receive deep discounts, and can purchase materials for a cheaper price. They don’t always pass on the savings to the customers, but it is sometimes worked into their estimate.

  • If you are injured during your home improvement project, can you afford to miss time from work?

This is a serious consideration, because unless for some reason you have a disability insurance rider on your health insurance, you will not be reimbursed for time missed from work due to injury sustained off the job.

  • Can you pay your medical bills if you are injured during your home improvement project?

Again, this is a serious consideration. Most of us have had to pay for a hospital stay, or trip to the emergency room, at some point in our lives. It is not cheap, and if you are injured during your home improvement project, you can incur hundreds, or even thousands of dollars worth of medical bills.

  • Do you enjoy manual labor?

Home Improvement projects require a lot of lifting, bending, reaching, and other types of strenuous physical labor. If you don’t enjoy manual labor, you won’t enjoy a DIY home improvement project.

  • Do you have access to the safety equipment needed to complete your home improvement project?

Back braces, safety goggles, steel toe work boots….these are just a few of the many items you will need to keep yourself safe. If you don’t already own these things, you will have to purchase them.

As you can see, there are many factors to take into consideration, and the decision to take on a home improvement project on your own should not be taken lightly. In many cases, hiring a professional laborer will end up being cheaper and will most certainly be more convenient. Remember the old adage, “you get what you pay for”? Sometimes FREE LABOR, just isn’t worth the hassle.

Practically every professional laborer offers free estimates. It doesn’t cost you anything to have them come out and estimate what the home improvement project will cost. You may be surprised at the price. Don’t forget that most professional laborers accept credit cards now, or will at least work out a payment plan to assist you in paying the bill.

If you decide to hire a professional laborer, make sure they are licensed and bonded. NEVER pay the full bill amount before the job is complete. Typically, 1/3 of the amount is given as a deposit, another 1/3 is due when the work begins, and the last 1/3 is paid upon completion. If possible, get a written contract spelling out exactly what will be completed and for what price.

Good luck with your home improvement project! If you’ve decided to do it yourself, be sure to take all safety precautions and protect yourself from injury.

10 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home

Home value experts agree that making improvements that count is the key to raising the value of your home. Whether you are planning to sell, purchasing a fixer-upper, or want to make improvements before tapping into your home’s equity, read these tips to give you the biggest return on your home improvement dollar.

  1. Making improvements to your bathroom is one of the best ways to increase your home’s marketability. Consider replacing or refacing your tub or shower. Replace a single unit vanity and sink with a dual unit or simply update the faucets. Replace linoleum with tile and update light fixtures. Improve or increase the amount of storage space in your bathroom by adding an enclosed cabinet unit to a bare wall.
  2. A gleaming kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, stone countertops, cork or hardwood flooring, and abundant storage space can sell a home the instant a buyer sees it. Replace the faucet with one that has a built in sprayer, replace a noisy garbage disposal or add a new one, and place LED puck lights in dark areas. Outdated flooring and poor lighting in the kitchen can turn a buyer more quickly than other any other room of the house.
  3. Replace air return filters and have a heating and air conditioning professional perform routine maintenance on your furnace and outdoor central air units. Have the air ducts cleaned to cut down on dust and give your home a fresher scent.
  4. Hire an electrical contractor or inspector to give your home’s wiring a safety inspection. Add outlets in areas that need them and replace switch and outlets plates that are outdated or broken.
  5. Media rooms are the latest trend in home improvements. Seek an expert to install surround sound with the speakers strategically placed and all wires concealed. Many home furnishing stores now carry theater seating in a variety of coverings and colors.
  6. Simple cosmetic improvements will do wonders for your home’s value. If you are planning to sell, paint the walls a neutral color or with subtle colors that are easily painted over. Use a concealing undercoating to hide areas that are darkened or have bold colors already painted on them. Have carpets, upholstery, and drapes professionally cleaned.
  7. Replace old or outdated ceiling fans and consider adding them to bedrooms and the living room. If you are unsure which styles are popular, check your local home improvement store and ask which models sell better than others.
  8. Outdoor living space has become one of the highest priorities for prospective home buyers. Adding a deck or sun room can significantly increase the value of your home. If your deck is dry, consider a stain or paint and sealant to revitalize it. Add deck lighting that is modern and appealing.
  9. Drive and walk past your home to view areas of landscaping that need curb appeal improvement. Add small trees and shrubs, perennials, or stone-wall flower beds. Rid your walkway and driveway of weeds that may be growing up through cracks. Place solar lighting in areas that you want to accent.
  10. Keep a file with all of your home improvement notes and appliance or fixture manuals. Potential home-buyers will find these very helpful in the decision to purchase your home. Real estate agents can also add the information to the description area on your home’s listing sheet. If you are looking to refinance, take your notes and receipts to the lender as proof of what you have done to increase your home’s value.

No matter what your reason, small improvements throughout your home will create return for your investment. Make sensible changes that will give your home an aesthetic charge and build equity.