Is your home a little on the shabby side? Does it need a few repairs here and there or perhaps even a major remodel? If you’re thinking about starting a home-improvement project, there are a few things you should consider to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The first thing you must consider before starting any home-improvement project is your budget. You must determine exactly what you can afford. Take a look at your current income and expenses, at your debt levels and at your savings. You’ll know if this is the right time for a project or not.
If you think you can manage something, then your next step is to figure out exactly how much. Perhaps your budget is already a bit tight. In that case, start with something small, like repainting a couple rooms or putting up new gutters or ordering new windows. Calculate costs carefully, adding up materials and labor and getting quotes from professionals as needed. Don’t start anything you can’t afford to finish unless you’re willing to take out a loan for a larger job that must be done, like a roof replacement or heating repair.
As you think about costs, don’t forget to account for little extras that might pop up. You might need to rent a dumpster, for instance, or apply for permits. Make a list of all possible expenses so that you’re not surprised during your project.
When you’re planning a home-improvement project, you should also consider your own skills. Maybe you’re pretty good at construction and do-it-yourself tasks. But be realistic. You might be able to handle painting and decorating, but unless you have special training, leave plumbing, electrical work and major remodeling to the professionals.
Next, take a close look at your home. You’ll probably need to prioritize projects. Make a list of all the improvements you would like to make, and then mark the repairs that need to be done sooner rather than later. Think in terms of safety first. An electrical system that is malfunctioning needs to be handled as soon as possible. Then consider structural and systems issues that need attention. If you don’t have those kinds of problems, you could choose projects that will give you the most bang for your buck. New flooring or fresh paint can make a big difference, for instance, even if you can’t afford a complete kitchen remodel.
Don’t neglect to take your family into consideration as you plan. If you have young children, for example, a major remodel might not be the best idea, but smaller projects could still give your house a needed facelift. Include family members in the planning process, too. Others might notice things you’ve overlooked or have some great ideas to make your home a fantastic place for all of you.
Home-improvement projects take time and energy, so make sure you have plenty of both before you start. If you’re going to do even part of the work yourself, you must make sure you have room in your schedule. Even managing a project will require plenty of time as you meet with the professionals, supervise work and handle the inevitable challenges that will come up. So if you’re working full time and swamped with other responsibilities, you might want to put off your project for a while unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do decide to go ahead with a project, then be sure to schedule time for it.
Finally, as you plan your project, make sure you promote your preferences. If you’re working with a contractor, you may get some pressure now and then to choose certain materials or styles. Take advice into consideration, but in the end, go with what you really like and can afford. After all, it’s your home, and you must live in it.
A home-improvement project, large or small, is a significant undertaking. So make sure that you’ve considered everything you need to before you get started.