Home Improvement – How to Get the Most Out of Your Home Improvement Projects
A home improvement project is a great way to make your house feel like your own. It can also add value to your home if it is done right. However, some projects can have the opposite effect and decrease your resale value.
There are certain things in life that are a certainty, and one of those is that as a homeowner you will face a series of home repair and improvement projects from time to time. These projects can range from minor maintenance tasks to a complete remodel. These projects can be expensive and may require the services of a professional.
In the past two years, Americans have spent $522 billion on home improvements, according to Census data from the American Housing Survey. That’s up from $433 billion in the previous two years. Typical spending per home improvement project rose from $1,350 to $1,500 during that time.
The average homeowner did about three home improvement projects during that period. But, most of those projects were fairly minor. And, the most significant projects tended to be undertaken by homeowners with higher incomes.
When considering any home improvement projects, you should always start with a budget. This will ensure that you stay within your means and prevent you from overspending. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a 10%-20% buffer to help cover unexpected expenses during the project.
Another important step is finding a contractor. You should always interview contractors before hiring them and ask for references from previous customers. You should also check the contractor’s license, bonding and insurance coverage. It is illegal in many states to engage in home improvement work without a license. And, in some cases, a license may be required for specific projects, such as installing an elevator or adding a swimming pool.
Once you have found a contractor, you should sign a contract that outlines the work to be completed, the payment schedule and all related details. The contract should include an initial down payment and incremental payments until the work is completed. It is also important to withhold final payment until all of the work and associated inspections and certificates of occupancy are completed. It is a violation of most state laws to make payments on a job that is not fully performed.
Whether you are tackling a major renovation or just updating a few minor fixtures, these simple projects can add up to a big difference in the look and feel of your home. From changing the paint color to swapping out light fixtures, these easy-to-do updates can make a huge impact on your home’s appearance.