Home improvement is the process of improving or remodeling your house to meet the needs of your lifestyle. You can make changes to your house for aesthetic reasons, for comfort or because you want it to meet safety standards.
The home improvement industry is an important part of the economy, employing millions of people. This includes sales of building materials and appliances, as well as the services that contractors provide.
If you need home improvement work done, it is important to hire a qualified contractor. The best way to ensure you get good results is to research different contractors and get their bids for the work you need. Once you have several quotes, you can compare them and decide which contractor will give you the best deal for the job.
Make a List and Be Specific
Before you begin any project, be sure to write down exactly what work you need done and how much you are willing to spend on the work. This will help you negotiate better with contractors and avoid surprises or unexpected costs later on.
When choosing a contractor, it is also important to ask about their licenses, insurance and other credentials. Some states require contractors to be licensed before doing work. You may even want to check out your local building and codes office to see if you need any permits or inspections for the project.
Consider a Contractor with Experience
Before hiring a contractor, it is crucial to look at references and reviews. The Internet is a great place to find reviews from previous customers, and you can also look at ratings on reputable online sites like Yelp and Angie’s List.
In addition, make sure the contractor is a member of your state’s trade association. These organizations are often able to give you advice about choosing a contractor and handling disputes with him if they arise.
You should also read the contractor’s contract carefully and thoroughly. It should contain the timeline for the work to be completed, the total cost and any other details that you need to know before you start the project. It is also wise to have your payments put into escrow until the project is substantially complete.
If a dispute does arise between you and your contractor, it is important to find a mediator. Mediation services are available in many areas, and can be free. In New York, for example, the New York Peace Institute offers mediation services as well as volunteer mediators.
Achieve More Value From Your Upgrades
When planning home improvements, it is important to understand the potential resale value of your upgrades. You don’t want to make a big investment in your house that will not pay off when it comes time to sell it.
To maximize the resale value of your home, make sure to choose quality upgrades that appeal to a wide audience. For example, marble flooring or an upgraded kitchen may be attractive to you, but they won’t add as much value to your home as a cheaper alternative.