A home improvement project can improve your life. A remodeled bathroom can make it more enjoyable for you to soak in a bubble bath, a new kitchen can make preparing meals a breeze, and a garage installation can keep you from having to scrape your car’s windshield in the winter. However, no matter what home improvement project you’re considering, you shouldn’t jump in without thinking through it carefully.
Before you make the final commitment to start your next home improvement project, you should consider these seven things.
Preparing Your Home for Disaster
You may want to beautify your home, but before you get caught up with considering paint colors and cabinet doors, you should think about the ways you can improve your home so you can be more prepared for disaster.
For example, did you know that there’s a 60 percent chance that California will experience a massive earthquake in the next 30 years? Is your home ready if you experience an earthquake? Is there a home update that could save your family from disaster should an earthquake strike?
You may want to consider installing new windows if yours are painted shut so your family can escape a fire, or you may want to consider a basement remodel so waiting out a tornado is more comfortable. When you consider projects like these, not only will you improve your home, you will also make your family safer.
Adding Equity to Your Home
Above and beyond making your family safer, you also have to consider the return on your investment. You don’t want to pour tens of thousands of dollars into a project and discover that your home isn’t worth anything extra when it’s time to sell.
Some projects add more value to your home than others. A few include:
- Two-story addition
- Bathroom remodel
- Basement remodel
- Garage door replacement
- Fiber cement siding
- Wood deck installation
Looking to avoid projects that don’t provide a good return on your investment? Avoid major remodels with too many luxury features. For example, completely gutting your kitchen and using exotic wood floors and fussy, yet beautiful, stone countertops won’t add as much value to your home as you think.
Once you’ve narrowed in on the type of home improvement project you want to tackle, you have to think through your budget very carefully. Seemingly simple renovations can cost a lot more than you think, and you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised when you get the final bill.
Setting a budget for your home renovation includes estimating how much it’s going to cost, how much you have in savings to cover the costs, and whether or not you want to take out a loan.
You should also plan for possible hidden costs, as problems often crop up after a project gets started. In addition, you should prepare ahead of time for ways you can save a little money throughout your project, like choosing prefabricated cabinets instead of custom, or painting the walls yourself.
Consider DIY Options Very Carefully
Speaking of painting the walls, there are many things you can DIY yourself in your home. It may take you longer than hiring a contractor, but you’ll get exactly what you want, and you’ll save a lot of money.
However, that doesn’t mean every project can by DIYed. A few projects you shouldn’t DIY include things like:
- Structural changes, such as adding a bedroom
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing alterations or installations
- Installation of expensive items, like stone countertops
Determining if a project can be DIYed means getting realistic about your abilities. Most people can paint any room in the home, but not everyone is capable of replacing a roof or installing a hot water heater.
Take Time to Find the Right Contractor
When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to hire a contractor. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean hiring a contractor will solve all of your problems. It’s extremely important to hire the right contractor, otherwise, you could end up with a shoddy job, or even worse, and unfinished job.
Take your time to find a reliable contractor you trust. That might mean asking friends and family if they have any recommendations, it will likely mean getting estimates from multiple contractors, and it means reviewing their licenses and references. It may take a little longer than hiring the first contractor you come across, but it will save you time in the long run.
Consider the Timing of Your Project
Home remodeling projects have a tendency to sound simple at first, but as they get underway, they become more complicated. A project you thought would only take a few weeks could end up taking a few months.
It’s important to get real about the timeline of your home renovation project, and you may want to plan for a few extra weeks, just in case.
It also includes considering when the project is best for your family. For example, a kitchen remodel may be a great idea while the kids are in school, but not such a good idea when everyone is home for the summer.
Narrow in on Exactly What You Want
If you’re spending a lot of money on a home remodeling project, you don’t want to end up with a finished product you hate. You deserve to get exactly what you want.
If you can’t seem to let those wood floors go, feel free to splurge. You can always save on other things you care less about later. Making involved decisions about what you really want will ensure you love every detail of your home improvement project when it’s finished.
Taking on a home improvement project is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. From considering your budget to your family’s safety, there are many things you should think about carefully before you pick up a hammer or your checkbook. With the tips on this list, you can make sure the final product is something you will love for many years to come.