Pick the right project
Some home improvements benefit you now—and are an investment in your future. Consider these tips to get the best value for your home improvement dollar:
YouTube videos can teach you a lot. But sometimes it pays to get help from an expert. Ask yourself these questions before tackling a project on your own:
Have I done a project like this before?
If it’s your first time, be prepared for the extra work and focus it will involve.
Do I have a reliable backup?
Get that contractor friend on speed dial in case you run into trouble.
Will this project involve structural framing?
It’s best not to tackle projects that involve cutting through walls. You run the risk of cutting through engineered lumber and trusses, which can lose their weight-carrying capacity.
Will this job require electrical, plumbing or HVAC work?
If your project involves cutting through pipes and wires, it’s best to leave it to the pros.
Do I have the resources to complete this job?
You might find the DIY route is not as desirable as you thought it would be.
Will this job risk personal injury?
Don’t risk your safety on a project that should be left to the pros.
If you’re hiring a contractor, consider these tips:
Get at least three bids
It’s tempting to go with the lowest bid. But remember that you get what you pay for.
Use reputable contractors
Get recommendations and reach out to references. Only choose contractors you trust.
Request a contract
Don’t sign anything until you fully understand all the terms.
Plan for it to take longer
It’s best for your calendar (and expectations) to assume projects will take longer than you think.
Keep a file of all paperwork and payments related to your project.
Be clear on the final payment
Don’t make a final payment until you’re satisfied with the job. Identify what that means in the contract.
Paying for your investment
Whether you decide to DIY or call in the experts, home improvement projects can add up. Consider these ways to help you pay for your upgrade: