Costs Of Home Improvement – Prices Do Matter!

You will find many indispensable facts regarding costs of home improvement in the following paragraphs. Every one of these facts is likely to make a lot of difference if you are ignorant about them.

There is a lot more to know about the latest in home improvement costs if you have a basic understanding.

Costs of Home Improvement

Cost of home improvement can be astounding but if you follow a few simple guidelines, you will be able to curtail it and make a small fortune in saving. As far as home improvement is concerned, it is extremely important to make a budget as money will just slip through your fingers even when you feel the job is almost done. Remember that where materials are concerned, they probably justify their cost according to their quality. So if something is expensive, it will also be of very good quality. So you have to decide how much you want to spend on the materials. Don’t compromise on the quality of the material as there is always a possibility that cheaper materials will be available but their quality will not be just as good.

Budgeting is very important. You must always budget a little more than what you want to spend so if the costs do escalate, or you have to undertake some extra work that you had not thought about, then at least you are prepared with the money. If a budget is not made, you will not be able to keep a track of where the money is being spent. Small little expenditures have a way of building up unawares so make sure you do not exceed your budget with things like tiling or wallpaper which you have forgotten.

The way to curtail home improvement costs is to ensure that you actually buy only the things that you need. There is no sense in purchasing a thing that you will probably never use. It would be a waste of money and hence avoidable. Costing is an important factor in home improvement projects because you have to fit in the project according to the funds at your disposal. Of course, you do not get anything free but you can surely minimise the cost by a great deal of budgeting.

The basic idea of home improvement is to make it the way you want and a comfortable place for you and your family. As such, whether or not you get the most expensive bath suite or the most expensive carpet is quite immaterial. What is important is that you and your family enjoy the outcome of the home improvement and live in it happily.

That is one aspect of home improvement costs. Of course there are many more levels to it as far as you want to go.

Home Improvement – The Top 10 Home Improvement Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Although a major home improvement can prove to be a rewarding project, it can also turn your life upside down if you are not prepared. I’ve heard of some worst case scenarios involving people who have lost their homes because they got in over their heads and others who ended up with incomplete project nightmares that cost them thousands of dollars to correct.

Following is a list of the top ten mistakes homeowners make when undertaking home improvement projects and tips on how to avoid them:

1. References. Do enough research and background checking to satisfy you. Walk away if the contractor is not willing to provide references from former clients. Do an online search of the contractor’s business and personal name. Check with local courts for judgments filed against them and with the Better Business Bureau for any consumer complaints. Look at previous work completed (in person). Check with material suppliers since a good contractor will have a long-standing relationship with suppliers. Contact other contractors who have worked with them before. Check their credit standing – contractors with bad credit are often disorganized and don’t manage their business well. Inquire about insurance, workers compensation and licensing.

2. Project management. You need one person to help you manage your project. Most issues occur when inexperienced homeowners try to manage their own project. A project manager is a single point of contact between the homeowner and other contractors and is responsible for scheduling and workflow.

3. Contracts. Make sure your contract is solid. As obvious as this may sound, failure to get a contract or signing an incomplete contract is one of the most common mistakes. Put all the details in writing – never take someone’s word for it. Following are items that should be included in the contract: (1) the full name of the company and the person you are doing business with and their contact information, (2) an addendum consisting of the complete set of plans, (3) an addendum consisting of the materials to be used, (4) the price of the goods or services, (5) the manner and terms of payment, (6) a description of the work to be performed, (7) a start date and an estimated completion date, (8) a default clause in the event either party defaults that specifies how damages will be calculated, (9) warranties and (10) signatures.

4. Warranties. Make sure you receive a warranty with detailed terms and conditions. Don’t accept a contract that simply states that all work is guaranteed. There is often confusion as to who is responsible for the warranty. Get the following in writing: (1) Who is backing the warranty? (2) What is covered and what is not covered? (3) How long is the warranty valid for? (4) What can void the warranty? (5) What is the process for placing a warranty claim?

5. Changes. During the project, you may change your mind on certain design aspects which may require more or less work from contractors. It is critical to document every change order and note the exact cost or savings. Changes should be signed and dated by all parties.

6. Plans. Get a clear description on what will be done, how it will be done and the materials to be used. For smaller projects, contractors can draw up plans. For larger and more complicated projects, find a qualified designer or architect. And, for example, if load-bearing walls will be altered, find an engineer to review the structural side of the plans.

7. Costs. Estimating costs tends to be a big problem because people do not make realistic comparisons. Homeowners may hire the contractor with the lowest price but that price may turn out to be much higher in the end. “Allowance items” tend to be the main culprit in estimating costs. For example, contractors may give you allowances for flooring, lighting or hardware that are artificially low. The bid looks enticing until you examine it closely. Request a line item for straight costs on materials and labor since some contractors mark up materials and labor so they can make a profit on it. Ask the contractor to pass along costs to you and to add a line item for their fee. This creates a more clear and honest assessment of the job.

8. Financing and payments. Before signing the contract, figure out how you are going to pay for your home improvement project. Make sure you maintain control of the money – don’t let your project manager or contractor control the money. This sounds obvious but many homeowners allow contractors to make draws on construction accounts only to realize that the draws were not used for the intended purpose. What does this mean? It means your contractor scored a new truck, you’re out of money and the project is incomplete. Tips: (1) don’t pay a lot of money up front, (2) pay when materials are delivered, (3) pay when work begins and (4) pay as work progresses. Pay only after work and materials are inspected and approved.

9. Inspections. Don’t wait until your home improvement project is almost complete to do the inspection. Plan phased inspections along the way so work doesn’t need to be re-done. Don’t rely on city and county building inspectors to protect you since the codes they enforce don’t guarantee quality (and they often miss things too!). Before paying for work, hire an independent inspector to do periodic phase inspections.

10. Materials. Stick with products that are tried and true. This rule especially holds true when it comes to windows, doors, framing materials, roofing products, concrete coverings, epoxy floors, plumbing, light fixtures and electronics. You don’t want to be the guinea pig that test runs the supposed latest and greatest new products or materials only to find out that these items don’t last or turn out to be fire hazards!

How to Find Great Free Home Improvement Catalogs

With entire television networks and multiple magazines dedicated to home improvement, it’s easy to see why home renovations are quickly becoming the fastest growing trend in North America.

Giant, big-box stores and smaller, specialty retailers are popping up all over and they all have their own catalogs. Whether you’re planning a one-room design idea, pricing tile or working on an estimate for a total house overhaul, free home improvement catalogs are a great way to get inspiration and price points for every project. Keep reading for five tips on how to find the best home improvement catalogs and how you can use them to help plan your next project.

1. Call your favorite manufacturers.

If you love your best friend’s new kitchen tile, ask who made it and call that company to request a copy of their latest catalog. They’ll gladly send it out to you along with the contact information for a local sales representative.

2. Ask at your local hardware store.

Because company reps visit home renovation retailers, they often drop off piles of free catalogs that are chock full of product information, prices and design ideas. Simply ask your local store clerk if they have any catalogs that you could take home to browse through. They’re happy to distribute them.

3. Search online.

Most manufacturers either make their full catalog available to browse online or they provide a simple order form that lets you request a mail-order copy of their free catalog right from your home office. You can also use the web to hunt down new companies and look for products you wouldn’t normally try. Check home improvement and design blogs for ideas on manufacturers to investigate.

4. Attend a home improvement “show.”

Attending a home improvement show or exposition is the best way to see a lot of products in one place and pick up hundreds of free home improvement catalogs. Most manufacturers set up booths with sales reps who can not only demo their available products, but also answer your questions. Their sales reps are happy to give out full catalogs along with their contact information for future sales.

5. Don’t forget the specialists.

Some companies do absolutely everything. Others are highly specialized and may only make designer faucets or unique drawer pulls. When building your home improvement catalog collection, remember to include the specialists. Take the time to at least glance through a few home improvement catalogs. They are packed with great ideas they may sway your ultimate do-it-yourself project decision.

Discover The Most Cost-Effective Home Improvements For Modest Budgets

Remodeling and upgrading various aspects of your home is actually an essential part of home ownership. While this might be surprising to many consumers, it’s important to note that the properties in your neighborhood are constantly being revised and improved upon themselves. As such, if you aren’t regularly implementing improvement projects that feature new additions, features and changes, you run the risk of having your investment fall behind in local market values. This will make it less marketable and less likely to fetch a reasonable price should you ever choose to sell. Following are some of the most cost-effective home improvements for modest budgets.

One of the first things that people will notice when approaching your property is the look and feel of your landscape. As such, any improvements that you make on the outside of your home are virtually guaranteed to have an impact on overall marketability. For instance, you might want to consider the benefits of installing a multi-layered lighting plan in this area.

With multiple layers, your outdoor lights will serve a variety of different functions. For instance, some will serve the purpose of keeping the home safe from vandals and other trespassers. People are a lot less likely to target your property with their criminal intentions if it is suitably well-lit.

Other lighting elements can increase the safety of property residents and guests. If people cannot see where they are going when visiting your home during the night hours, the risks of these individuals sustaining trip and fall injuries is at an all-time high. Installing lighting elements such as these can actually limit liability. Finally, some lights can be installed to showcase all of the beautiful landscaping features that you’ve installed.

Another way to improve upon the outside of your home is to make your landscaping design more environmentally friendly. A lot of savvy property shoppers are not interested in taking on an extensive amount of yard maintenance and the associated costs. Consider the benefits of using native plants as the basis of your yard designs and highlight these with wood mulch or decorative rocks.

Inside of the home, pay special attention to the kitchen and the bathrooms. These are the areas in which residents are likely to spend the greatest amount of time. The best kitchen designs are large, open spaces that allow for a lot of movement. Rather than adding new features in, think about taking a few out. You may be able to free up enough space to create a functional kitchen island.

Bathrooms can be enhanced with decorative tile, glass enclosures or even just a new coat of paint. The goal of improvements in these rooms should be to improve both aesthetics and overall usability. Try to achieve a nice balance between creating a space that looks good and one that is capable of meeting a broad range of needs.

Finally, never overlook the benefits of upgrading your windows and sliding doors. The latest and most innovative designs can shave countless dollars off your energy bill by better insulating your home. In addition to providing a far greater level of overall energy efficiency, these additions can also significantly enhance the aesthetic value of your home, both inside and out.

Home Improvement: The Pitfalls Of DIY

When it comes to any kind of home improvement undertaking, many homeowners will be tempted to try to do the work themselves. After all how difficult can it be? You just get onto the internet and you can find tons of information on how to do just about anything. Surely, it should be easy to do the home remodeling yourself, whether it is bedroom, bathroom or kitchen remodeling. With help just a click away, do you really need to hire a professional contractor at all to do your home improvement work?

It’s Not As Easy As It Looks

The first home truth you will realize when you attempt any DIY project by seeing a video on the internet or reading the instructions online is that it is not as easy as it looks especially if you are an amateur. If you have some experience with DIY, you may find it a tad easier but that would depend upon the complexity of the project. As with everything else from cooking and sewing to constructing and remodeling, doing it yourself can be quite different and many times more difficult than reading about it or seeing a video about it. This is especially true for intricate home improvements jobs.

Be Realistic & Practical

Even if the job is completely within your scope but it is one that is likely to take a long, long time, think about whether or not you can afford to spend so much time on it. Also, does the job require specialized tools that you do not own in your tool kit? If you have to buy tools only for this project and you are not likely to use them again, is it worth it? You may want to consider getting a general contractor who has the time, expertise and tools to get the job done for you. A skilled handyman will complete the project in a much shorter time and is sure to do a more professional job using the right tools.

Straying On The Wrong Side Of The Latest Building Codes

This is something not many homeowners take into consideration when messing around with doing their home improvement themselves. Others may have a general idea and mistakenly think all will be okay if they just stay more or less within the guidelines. This is not necessarily true. If your area has rigid building codes and you happen to fall foul of these codes, you will end up having to pay a stiff fine in addition to taking down whatever you’ve newly constructed that contravenes the area codes.

When it comes to home improvement, unless you have the time, tools and knowledge, it is far better to call in a professional and get a stress-free job done.

Home Improvement to Make Profit

Upgrading the home is to increase the value of the home and make it into comfort zone. Usually the house improvement projects are taken up to add new installations and latest technical systems or to include changes in the kitchen which can make it comfortable for the user. Sometimes a new bathroom or a family room can be added to increase the living space. Improvement can be done for the purpose of comfort or to increase the marketability of the house.

A kitchen equipped with modern gadgetry is appealing and can bring in lot of profit if one intends to sell it. A large section of the budget for the kitchen improvement goes into changing the kitchen cabinets and various appliances. There are many varieties of cabinets found in different colors and styles. Sometimes by just changing the kitchen sink one can enhance the look of the kitchen. Sinks for the kitchen can be found in different sizes. Sinks with deep bowl, shallow bowl single or double bowls can change the look and the comfort of the comfort of the kitchen.

Home improvement projects are meant to maintain the exterior and the internal areas of the house and to increase the life of the house. The plumbing lines and the electrical lines have to be checked regularly to make sure that they are in good condition to avoid serious damage. One can take up small repairs personally from time to time which would eventually reduce the home improvement bill.

It is not always necessary to remodel sections of the house re-arrangement of the furniture and a few additions can give the house a new look. Bathroom is one which may need extra attention. Remodeling of the bathroom depends on the requirement, the budget and the size of the bathroom. One can take the help of a professional to get a dream bathroom from the available space.

Take quotes from more than one bathroom remodeler. There are many who would remodel within the budget to the total satisfaction of the customer. The luxury in the bathroom depends on the spending capability of the home owner. There are many appliances like the luxury shower or the whirlpool tub which are for ultimate relaxation. To increase the luxury and to have an exotic experience of bathing one can add a sauna bath. The bathroom cabinets and the counter tops can add an exotic look to the room. A collection of choicest bathroom accessories can give it a stylish look.

Very important aspect which can be taken care while remodeling is the lighting, the floor, the windows, fixtures and the walls of the room. Any change incorporated in the house should be within the budget and should be durable. One should not just lay emphasis on the looks but the durability of the new product used to bring the change. Projects of the remodeling or the home improvement can be taken up section wise. There is practically no section of the house which cannot be changed or improved to make it look better.

5 Top Home Improvements That Add Value To Your Home

Carrying out some home improvements to your home not only increase the functionality and usability of your home, if the right improvements are carried out then you can also add value to your home. For this reason it is important that you are aware of which improvements add the most value to make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. I have listed the 5 top value adding improvements below which should make it easier for you to decide how best to spend your money, and get the best return for it.

Build an extension to your home: This obviously has to add the most value to your property as you are increasing its size and adding to its functionality. Whether you are adding extra bed rooms or increasing the size of your kitchen, it does not really matter, just the fact that you are increasing the size of the property and adding more useable rooms to it will make a difference. If your home does not have a bathroom downstairs and you are adding an extension you should allocate a small section of the floor space added to providing a bathroom.
Loft conversion: A loft conversion is a great way to add extra functionality to your home, and can be a cheaper option than having an extension built. If you choose to go down this route you should make sure that you get all the relevant planning permission required, otherwise your hard earned cash could be wasted when your local building control team find out about the work you have done and prevent you from using the added room/s. Also when you come to sell the property any prospective buyer will need to be happy that the work has been carried out according to the latest building regulations. It is also worth considering adding a fixed staircase to your loft rather than a make do pull down ladder. You should also make sure that you have enough natural light coming into the new rooms by adding enough roof windows. This also gives you the added advantage of offering an improved view.
Improve your kitchen: Replacing a tired looking kitchen with a shiny new one with all the latest gadgets and space saving advantages, can help significantly improve the functionality of your kitchen and also help to improve the sale ability of your home. The kitchen has probably the biggest impact on making the right impression when anybody comes to view your home. Let’s face it if you are considering changing your home which usually means increasing your mortgage to buy a bigger or better property you do not want to have to spend even more money on having a new kitchen fitted.
Have a new bathroom fitted: This is not quite as important as having a kitchen refit but it does go quite a way to helping push prospective buyers into choosing your property as opposed to any others they have viewed, again because of the convenience factor of having no major money to spend in ripping out and renewing an old or out of date bathroom.
Landscape your garden: Everybody wants a nice garden that can be enjoyed throughout the year, but few people want the work and expense of putting it in order themselves.

Another critical factor that you should consider if you are about to undertake any home improvements, is to make sure that you arrange any finance you need in advance. If you have a bundle of cash in your pocket you might be surprised at how much money you can save by haggling with the contractors.

Types of Home Improvements – Know it Before You Do It

Home improvement generally refers to a process that involves introducing alterations in order to change the layout of the home. This involves changing exterior properties of a home which may comprise of lawn, garage, and garden. Home improvement includes various kinds of changes that help in making a home comfortable, safe and stylish. There are various changes that people can create in their homes according to their interests. Some of which are as follows:

People may add certain features that may enhance the beauty and add charm to the place. This involves adding new flooring like hardwood or wooden flooring. This may also include tiles, carpets and linoleum. People can give a beautiful look to their place by using attractive wall papers, or painting walls and using wood paneling to make the place look more elegant and well-designed.
People may also introduce latest cabinets and fixtures to update their homes as per the trends prevalent in this industry.
People can use latest fittings for their bathrooms like sauna baths and whirlpool tubs to relax and rejuvenate themselves.
People can improve their backyards by using wooden patio decks, sliding doors, fencing and patio gardens.
Comfort is the primary motive that people want to attain by introducing changes that are stylish yet provide great amount of relaxation. People may upgrade their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. They would also want to increase the capacity of electrical as well as plumbing facilities, soundproofing their bedrooms or bathrooms and waterproofing their basements. By upgrading these essential facilities, people enjoy immense comfort level and relaxation.
Home improvement may also include certain repair and maintenance projects. Sometimes people can make a huge difference to their homes by making necessary repairs. Repair and maintenance projects may include fix-ups or replacement, electrical and plumbing repairs. These may also include concrete and masonry repairs as well as repairs caused due to natural disasters or water damage.
The process of home improvement may also undertake installation of safety measures. Burglar alarm systems can be installed in order to prevent and reduce the instances of thefts. Doors and windows can be equipped with security locks to ensure greater safety.
In order to protect homes from fires, fire sprinkler systems can be used as a preventive measure.
In order to protect homes from the hazards of hurricanes and tornadoes, storm cellars can be used effectively.
Home improvement also includes installing backup generators to provide power backup.

People can use the services of a contractor that would help in making design plans, getting people to do the work whereas supervising and coordinating to ensure that everything is done as per the plan. Alternatively, people can hire tradesmen to do the job. For instance, if one wants to do bathroom remodeling, he is required to contact an architect to draw the plans. Once the design is ready, he can then contact people to do necessary construction. This would also require calling electrician and plumber to do all the necessary fittings. This approach is feasible in case of small jobs. Larger projects require the services of a contractor to get the job done effectively. Home improvement is a great way to upgrade homes and everybody must make necessary changes from time to time to make them updated as well as vibrant.

Home Improvement Centers

It is the wish and hope of every homeowner to see new features installed in their homes so that they can look better and bigger. Similarly, many of them are also very eager to spend a lot of summer days in the newly installed equipment such as, in ground swimming pool. Many home owners only know what they want but the part of designing it is not known to them. It is at such a point that services offered by home improvement centers become of great essence.

A homeowner, who wants a unique landscaping to characterize the swimming pools backyard, must consult home improvement centers for advice. Consequently, he or she will get some knowledge on backyard landscaping. This knowledge is quite important because many people just think that keeping the pool clean is all what is required of them. To the contrary, home improvement centers will tell you that you have to set up favorable themes around your swimming pool. These themes blend very well with the backyard landscaping ideas that you had initially.

If you opted to visit home improvement centers rather than wait for them to come to your home, the better it is. The reason behind this is that you will learn a lot from the settings that you come across in all different home improvement centers that you visit. Among the very common features in most home improvement centers are the tall posts that have lights on top. These are very important features that have several benefits in spite of how simple they may look. They are the main source of lighting during barbecues and other outdoor functions.

You do not have to hear it from home improvement centers that for these poles to illuminate perfectly, they must be placed strategically. What about decorations that can be seen during the daytime? This is the common question that most people tend to ask. Surely your home needs a few decorations here and there to keep it smart during the day hours.

A perfect decoration for your home which is not very expensive is the large flower vessels and pots that are sold by various gardening centers. Once you acquire the flower pots of your choice, you are only left with the huddle of choosing the most significant places to place them. If you feel confused about this type of landscaping, you can call the home improvement centers for assistance.

Similarly, you can also try this out. Place each pot at every corner of the swimming pool. After you are through with that area, proceed to the backyard. Chose several different places and place a few of them so that in the long run, you have flowers everywhere. If you erect a chain link fence around your swimming pool, be keen to make sure that it does not turn to be a host for weeds. The same case applies to cracks on the floor which most certainly must be made of cement or concrete slabs.

Generally, you should consult experts from home improvement centers to advice you on the latest and best techniques to decorate your home.

Home Improvement Tips to Help Sell Your Home

With the real estate market fluctuating, there comes a period every couple of years where there are more sellers than buyers and hence the people looking for a home can be choosy. They know that sellers desperately want to move on to their next home and will do anything reasonable to close a deal.

With so many homes on the market, many sellers resort to home improvement tips and tricks to make their house stand out from amongst the competition. However, the key lies in knowing which home improvement tips can increase the value of your home and which won’t make much of a difference. Here are some of the most popular home improvement areas that can help sell your home faster and for a better price

Paint

The cheapest home improvement aspect can also give the best payoff. You can save even more money by doing the job yourself. A fresh coat of white or taupe can really improve the homes appearance. It looks cleaner, looks bigger and looks like the people who live here care for their property. However, one word of caution here is to stick to neutral tones if you want to sell your home. Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

Window Treatments

Again, if you can make window treatments yourself you can save some money. But even if you cannot, new curtains and blinds are home improvement aspects that really spruce the place up. Again, stick to prints and patterns that people of all ages would like so that you appeal to more buyers. Better still, opt for solids rather than floral or abstracts as they are a safer bet.

De-clutter

Perhaps the biggest payoff as far as home improvement tips are concerned is to make your home look bigger and less messy. You may have accumulated a lot of stuff (and junk) over the years. Ideally, go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.