One of the main purposes of investing in home improvement is to boost the value of your property. Home improvements can offer significant value to the homeowner as well as the community where you live. When you invest in a quality upgrade, the boost in property value will enhance the outlook of your community. It also provides employment for the construction industry and an increased market for raw materials used in home remodeling projects.
Hire a contractor vs Do-It- Yourself
Many homeowners who consider themselves handy would rather do their own remodeling work. But undertaking home remodeling projects can be risky and costly because systems like wiring, plumbing and heating require a professional touch. Using a contractor is certainly going to cost you but it usually turns out cheap in the long run because you are able to avoid costly mistakes during the remodeling process.
If you choose to use a contractor, make sure you check the Better Business Bureau as well as your local consumer protection agency to ensure you are hiring an experienced professional. “You also want to consider online reviews,” explains Todd William, founder and CEO of Reputation Rhino, “but more important than the overall rating is how people describe the experience with the contractor and whether he or she is engaged in solving problems.” Also talk with previous clients, and visit his place of business just to see if they can be trusted. You can start by getting recommendations from your friends and family members who have hired contractors in your area.
Comparing different home remodeling contractors
It’s always important to get a number of bids and then compare them based on what’s important to you. The contractor may offer a package plan where they provide all the materials and labor and even arrange for your financing. There are even contractors who will make loan applications on behalf of their clients.
Consider whether you need an architect
You may want to consider whether you should hire an architect for your home improvement project. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), “Whether you are remodeling the kitchen, creating your dream home, sitting on the building committee for a new school or civic center, or planning a commercial or other building, working with an architect member of the AIA can save time and money by making your new spaces more functional, comfortable, efficient, and environmentally responsible.”
An experienced architect can introduce design and functionality recommendations to help you make the most of your budget. For example, a bar foot rail added to a residential or commercial bar area will add comfort and style at minimal cost.
Read and understand your contract before signing
You need to ensure that all the types of improvements and the extent to which they are to be made have been specified in the contract. You need to know how much the entire job will cost as well as the interest that you will pay on the loan and the service charges. “Ask questions in case there’s anything unclear or excluded in your contract,” says Eric Gonchar, a real estate attorney in New York City.
Be vigilant to avoid fraud
You need to be on the lookout to avoid becoming a victim of fraud in the home remodeling industry. Do not sign a contract that is unclear or with a contractor who is making wild promises and bargains. Be very cautious and avoid sales people who are only willing to sign for urgent repairs or offer you trial purchases to use your home for some remodel.
Do not sign a completion certificate until the work that you had paid for and agreed has been completed to your satisfaction. Most importantly, don’t be so quick to give a contractor a lien on your property.
Most lenders do not require a lien, especially if your construction loan is less than $7,500.