Get a plan
Renovations don’t always go according to plan. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Last-minute changes can be stressful and costly, so make sure you have all the details in order. This means that you know what results you want, and how much time and money it will cost to get them.
Many older homes are full of character and feature architectural windows as well as solid plaster.
In the planning phase, modeling and design tools can be extremely helpful. To prepare for unexpected surprises, create a few different versions of the project and add 10-15% to your budget estimates.
It can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to home improvement projects. Updated bathrooms and kitchens are a sure bet. So are renovations that increase the square footage like basements or decks. Buyer preferences can vary widely from one market to the next, so make sure you focus on what is most popular and valuable in your area and not just national trends.
Tackle quick, time-sensitive projects first
Some home improvements are more pressing than others. You should prioritize projects that will save money or avoid future damage. This is double for quick fixes like sealing drafts or replacing filter.
Get your DIY threshold
Not all home improvement projects can be done by amateurs, even if you are a skilled DIYer with a well-stocked shop. Consider your level of interest before you start a project. How much effort are you actually willing to do? Is it worth the effort? Be brutally honest.
Don’t make a commitment if you don’t know what you are getting into. Spend at least a few hours looking through YouTube tutorials and pricing materials.
Get DIY skills
Basic repair skills are essential for everyone. The internet makes it easy to learn them. Start with a question. Is your garbage disposal broken? Do I really need a dishwasher filter cleaned? How can you refinish coffee tables? Some blogs and videos are more popular than others. Next time, you can start by talking to them.
Volunteer if you are more hands-on. You will learn new skills while helping others. You can also find free clinics at hardware stores on basic home improvement and repair skills.
Save money by scrimping–and splurging–responsibly
Major renovations can be costly, but spending too much on each line item will only lead to more work. Instead, be realistic about what you can afford and where you don’t. It’s a good idea to save money on anything that is extremely expensive or difficult to replace, such as hot water heaters and electrical work. Cheaper items, such as drawer pulls, light fixtures and shower heads, are fine. It is important to consider how much enjoyment and use you will get from the item. You can save money on floor tiles if you are a passionate cook and still have the ability to splurge on the stove you want.
Learn about your financing options
Most home improvements don’t pay for themselves. You don’t have to spend all your savings on the project. There are many ways that you can finance your home improvements without putting yourself at risk.
Credit cards and personal loans are available for small to medium projects depending on the terms and interest rate. Home equity loans (HELs), and lines of credit (HELOCs), can finance major renovations or repairs. You can reduce your private mortgage insurance payments by making improvements to your home. However, you will have to pay for the reassessment of your home.
Use the right tools
It’s impossible to improve your home using only your hands. Most projects will require a multi-tool. Be sure to have all the tools you will need before you begin any project. Remember that certain project types require special equipment , especially if they involve electrical or plumbing. If in doubt, Google it.
Search for the ideal contractor
Choosing a contractor or handyman you can trust is like choosing the right dentist or therapist. It’s not as easy as it sounds and has incredibly high stakes. These are the criteria to carefully vet potential contractors.
- Word of mouth: Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations–especially if they have industry connections
- Search for complaints: Find your state’s consumer protection office and local building inspection offices
- Find out which permits and licenses are required in your region for electricians, plumbers, painters, and other tradespeople
- Ask for proof of insurance: Request contractors to give you their insurance details so that you can verify it with your provider
- Request references and then check them out
- Get to know every candidate and get a feel of their style
- Request quotes and keep track of them using a spreadsheet or another list
Keep your next project in sight
Home improvement is a process where one project ends and another begins. It’s much more difficult to plan your next move if you don’t have the same good ideas that you had while working on another project. You can keep a detailed list in a notebook, spreadsheet, or a Pinterest board to help you remember what’s coming next.