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Home improvement Tips: Do's and Don'ts

The Do's and Don'ts of Home Improvement

Home Improvement Ideas

Home improvement can cover everything from small changes to major renovations. Unfortunately, projects of any size can come to a halt due to unexpected roadblocks. Make sure your home improvement path is clear by following some proven home remodeling tips.


The Do’s of Home Improvement:

  • Plan In advance: Ask licensed contractors about proposed schedules. If it's DIY, create your own schedule so a project doesn't drag on too long.
  • Schedule everything: Include demolition time, potential licensed contractor delays, appliance shipping time, and other anticipated tasks.
  • Hire a professional when needed: Many tasks can be DIY, but licensed contractors are necessary for some jobs that require specialized experience.
  • Know the project scope: In a recent study, the biggest DIY regrets came from expanding on and renovating rooms without understanding the true extent of the task. For example, if you’re doing a kitchen remodel, it is best to determine whether you're completely renovating or simply changing out cabinets.
  • Splurge when necessary: Budget for quality items: Increased lighting, better windows, new fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms, good paint colors, kitchen cabinets.
  • Consider a home equity line of credit: It’s a good alternative to help fund a larger home improvement project or to cover unexpected costs without having to dip into your savings, typically offered with lower interest rates. Homeowners can take out equity on their homes to fund their improvement projects.


The Don’ts of Home Improvement:

  • Underestimate project costs: Materials, licensed contractors and home inspection fees can add up. Make a budget, and allow for a little cushion, as extra costs often arise.
  • Forget about building permits: Find out the rules and regulations for your projects, including building codes and inspections.
  • Neglect to shop around: Compare prices and do research on everything from licensed contractor time to light switch covers to understand your costs. Shopping for energy-efficient appliances like ENERGY STAR can also save money in the long run.
  • Create rooms that are too specific: Spaces that are specific to only your lifestyle may limit the value of your home. Examples include: game rooms, sunrooms, and second kitchens.


Home Renovations: Dollars & Sense

When it comes to making the most of your home improvement project, it's important to ensure that you spend no more on each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value.

Setting a budget begins (and often ends) with properly allocating work to be done. For the most part, you can DIY for painting, appliance installation, minor demolition, trim and finish work, but consider licensed contractors for electrical work, plumbing, framing and drywall, HVAC, gas lines, venting, major structural repair and concrete pouring.

Ultimately, you'll want to think about cost of improvements versus value, which will change according to where you live. Talk to a home equity or mortgage professional about how to determine how much equity is in your home. Often, you end up with a lower interest rate with a home equity line of credit compared to other funding options like credit cards or personal loans.

In closing, don't lose focus of your goal. Sure, there's mess and a bit of chaos during the renovation process, but if the project is finished properly, it should be worth the trouble. Upgrading your home will raise its value, but most importantly, it'll turn spaces into areas that you and your family can love.

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If your property is located in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey or Washington