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October 31, 2017

Here are 10 things to  keep in mind before attempting a home improvement project:

  1. Before contracting anyone, consider the value it will add to your property. Consult a realtor first so you know how much value your planned project can potentially add to your home. Then, reach out to a contractor for a ballpark estimate of the total cost. If you’re getting a little return on your investment, try reflecting on the possible repercussions if you still decide to push through with your project.
  2. Take the inconvenience into consideration. If your rooms are undergoing renovation, you can’t use them until the renovation work has been completed. Think of how much this will take a toll on you and your family’s daily routine.
  3. Find the right contractor, not just the lowest-priced one. It’s best if you reach out to your trusted inner circle for potential contractors. Consider their portfolios, track records, reputation, and experience. Better yet, check if your shortlisted candidates are members of a professional association which emphasises a code of ethics. The process may take some time, but it will be worth it in the end.
  4. Have your home’s original blueprints to speed up the process. Doing this will save you both time and money.
  5. Have a contract that covers the scope of the work. Make sure the contract includes the company’s name, address, contact details, and estimated costs. If your contractor is unwilling to draw up a contract, consider this as a red flag. Look for someone else to work with.
  6. Get the necessary permits for work. Projects which typically require permits include deck building, structural improvements, windows, fences, electrical work, and plumbing. Your contractor will reach out to your city council office for the complete list. He will also provide you with the costs for these permits.
  7. Get an itemised estimate to help you budget effectively. Ask your contractor to itemise your costs so you know where your money is going. The breakdown should include costs for permits and expenses you incur when you can’t use parts of your home.
  8. Never pay in full, upfront. If a contractor requires you to shell out the full payment straight away, he’s most likely a con artist. If he requires a down payment, pay him one-third of the total amount to start. Give him another one-third while the project is underway. Finally, settle the remaining balance once he completes the work to your satisfaction. Experts also recommend using a credit card instead of cash.
  9. Ensure your contractors are insured. Your contractor may get involved in an accident while on the job. For your peace of mind, consider hiring a contractor with insurance against personal liability, worker’s compensation claims, and property damage. Ask your contractor for the name of the insurance agency and the specific coverages for good measure.
  10. If you decide to D-I-Y, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re confident that you can do the job yourself, well and good. But be realistic in your abilities and how much work you can really handle. The last thing you want is to pile up on more expenses and spend more time having the contractor undo your botched project and then get the project done right

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