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9 Tips for a Successful Home Improvement Project

Kitchen countertop strewn with tools for a home improvement project

Starting a home improvement project can be exciting and somewhat challenging, especially if it is your first time to do it. It involves thorough preparation, time, effort, and also sufficient budgeting to make sure you can get the job done the way you want. Home improvement upgrades can be minor aesthetic upgrades all the way to full home renovations. The skies are the limit from kitchen remodeling, a brand new HVAC system, upgrading to big beautiful windows, or even installing solar panels to help save money down the road and be more energy efficient.

Here are ten useful tips for a successful home improvement project that can help guide you through the process.

1. Assess Your Home’s Current State

Woman with glasses working on her laptop taking notes

Look around your home and determine the areas that need attention or areas that you’ve always wished were more useful for you. For example, your kitchen tiles and sink could be misaligned or outdated completely, maybe the plumbing constantly has annoying leaks. In that case you may want to prioritize a kitchen remodel. However, home improvement projects go way deeper than just the surface and what you see daily. Have you recently noticed that it takes quite a long time to cool or heat your house more so than it did in the past? Maybe it’s time to get your HVAC system replaced. Does your living room seem small and dark, perhaps install a beautiful picture window to beautify your home and everyday life. It is best to grab a notepad and pen or your phone and go through each room with a keen eye thinking about visual improvements as well as documenting overall home improvements that could benefit your home.

2. Envision Your New Beautiful Space

Bright, open living room

One of the most important things to consider is what you envision for your home to look like or be improved upon. Let’s use kitchen renovation as an example. If you’ve always wanted a center island or a mirror backsplash on the counter, write it down. Get on pinterest or other popular websites and google kitchen design trends to get a feel for what you’re looking for. You’ll want to have a good idea of what exactly you want out of this home improvement project.
Let’s say your roof is currently falling apart and is an eye sore every time you pull into the driveway, start researching different roofing styles and decide what would look best with your home. If you have these idea types in place and examples of what you desire beforehand it will be much easier to discuss with a contractor. You’ll be able to get more accurate pricing and be able to see what dreams you can make a reality for your home.

3. Calculate Your Project’s Budget

If you plan to remodel your home, another vital consideration is your budget and project funding. Your budget should include the design and construction cost, the materials cost, the labor costs, permits, and even a minimum and maximum amount you are willing to spend on each project. You may find that a few upgrades to your kitchen cabinets and living room windows may be more within budget rather than installing a new solar panel system. You’ll want to decide what to prioritize based on your financial capabilities and also what you think will give you the biggest return on investment for the time being.
For example, if you decided that getting a new heating and cooling system would be a top priority. You would need to think about the possible costs for duct replacement, wiring repairs, and if you are wanting to replace both your heating unit as well as your air conditioning system at the same time. Expenses might also come from additional labor and supplies that you wouldn’t know about till the installer was performing the job in-house. Information on most home improvement average costs can be found online. For example, HVAC installation costs can be found by using helpful online cost calculators or by simply requesting price quotes from multiple contractors in your area.
Having an idea of what you can comfortably spend on different home improvement projects will allow you to set manageable project constraints and goals.

4. Look for and Hire the Best Contractors

Man calling a potential general contractor

Choosing the right contractor for your home improvement project is one of the most important things you can do. You will want to fully trust that this person is capable of doing your renovation and doing it well. We suggest always getting quotes from at least four home contractors to make sure you are getting a fair price. If you’re wanting to renovate your living room and one contractor prices it out at a much higher price, you’ll want to understand why the quotes were so vastly different and gut check that you are getting an honest price from that contractor. Here are a few things you’ll want to determine about the contractors you request price quotes from:

  • Can they provide background checks?
  • How many years of experience with your project type?
  • Are they properly licensed and insured?
  • Do they have positive online references from past jobs?
  • Do they have high ratings and reviews on popular home improvement sites?
  • Do they have a good social media presence and are their responses on homeowner comments/reviews favorable and professional?

This person will be in your home regularly and also will be handling quite a big financial investment project. You want to leave no stone unturned in being sure you have the right person or team for the job at a fair price.

5. Set a Specific Payment Schedule

Discuss and agree with your contractor before hiring for a specific payment schedule, which usually starts before the home project takes place. The schedule should include a timeframe that states what accomplishments should be completed before payment is set again. It should also be in writing if the payment types will be in cash, credit card, financing, etc. This is also a good time to establish the best way to contact them and the expected reply rate. Will you all be needing to communicate through text on a personal line, email, or do you prefer phone calls?

6. Create an Expected Timeline for Completion

In relation to the payment schedule, also develop a timeline. This timeline will show your preferred start date up to the target completion date. Set an appointment with your contractor to discuss the whole length of time needed for the home improvement project. You’ll also want to know what kind of accommodations you’ll be needing to make for them to complete the project. Will furniture need to be cleared if they’re putting in a new bay window in the kitchen? Will your pets need to be secured to a certain area in order for your contractor to complete the job? These are great questions to ask before the project starts so you can plan around them. The conversation will also let you prepare how to move around your home and continue your activities of daily living during the construction phase timeline.

7. Make Arrangements for the Construction Phase

Once your home improvement project is about to commence, make sure to prepare your space. Like with our example above, if you are to have a kitchen renovation, plan with your family as to where to cook and prepare meals. If you are to have an HVAC replaced, prepare a backup heating device, especially during cold seasons. If you are installing new windows throughout the house, you may need to take a day off from work to be there during the replacement.

8. Prepare for the Unexpected

Remember that not all renovation projects go smoothly, have a contingency plan ready for any budget constraints or accidents, which may lead to project delays. Stick as much to your timeline, therefore allot extra days also when formulating the schedule. Let your contractor know about any budget constraints or deadlines that are set in stone so that they can help to make sure it’s all possible and that your home improvement project is completely successful.

9. Remember to Enjoy It!

Couple dancing in the kitchen together

A successful home improvement project entails some effort to get in motion and completed, but it will all be worth it when you see the results. Make sure to plan, check all necessary details, and coordinate well with your contractors for a swift and hassle-free project. Enjoy the process and really make sure to get exactly what you want from your home improvement project. Some projects can be completely life changing, it’s an exciting journey that should be enjoyed throughout. You worked hard to be able to upgrade your home however you see fit, and whether it be a brand new kitchen, new windows throughout, or finally having a comfortable temperature in your home during season extremities it will all be worth it. Dream about the final outcome and make it happen!

Article Author

Ryan Vincent

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