Do-it-yourself is an attractive way to save money on home improvement projects. Home centers stay busy each spring with people looking to improve their homes and yard.
Whether you are remodeling your home, making needed repairs, or sprucing things up to put your house on the market, the following tips will help make your next home improvement project a success.
- Come up with a budget and stick to it. Home improvement projects can get expensive fast. If you don’t want to break the bank, create a realistic budget to figure out how much you can spend ahead of time. Be upfront with contractors you hire about how much you can spend on a project.
- Think about the pros and cons of DIY projects. If time and motivation are no problem for you, you may be able to tackle some basic home improvement projects on your own, but other projects may require further expertise. Suppose you don’t have a background in construction. In that case, it’s usually best to hire a contractor to help with larger projects, such as plumbing, tiling, tree removal, exterior painting, and general remodels.
- Give high priority to projects that keep your home clean and safe. If your home needs repairs, take care of those projects first. For example, fix that leaky roof before you give your home’s walls a fresh coat of paint. In addition, don’t forget to stay on top of regular home maintenance tasks to maximize the cleanliness and safety of your home.
- Up the value of your home with a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Remodeling your bathroom or kitchen can completely change the look and feel of your home, creating a space you enjoy being in - not to mention it can add quite a bit of value to your home. For large-scale remodels, hire a contractor specializing in construction and remodeling services.
- Improve energy efficiency. Save money (and the environment) by improving your home's energy efficiency. Energy-saving projects worth taking on include checking and replacing the seals on all windows and ducts in your home, installing new windows, and looking into green energy options like solar panels.
- Get multiple quotes from contractors. When you are ready to start your home improvement project, get multiple quotes from several companies. Never be pressured into hiring the first person you speak with. Comparing pricing and services is a critical step in choosing a skilled contractor you can trust.
- Properly vet contractors before you hire. Even if the price is right, don’t hire a contractor before researching. Ask the contractor to provide references. Look up their name or company name online and pay close attention to any reviews or complaints from previous customers. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insured and get an estimate and contract in writing. Read contracts carefully before you sign them.
- Think about permits. For larger projects, you may need to pay for building permits. Do your research ahead of time and understand that even if you hire a contractor, you may still be responsible for the cost of the permits.
- Don’t get scammed. Stay alert to any suspicious behavior by “home improvement specialists.” Red flags include not putting things into writing, demanding upfront payment, unexpected price changes, high-pressure sales tactics, unsolicited free inspections (that usually reveal the need for an urgent repair), and cash-only deals.
For more information, see BBB's Home HQ at BBB.org for tips on everything in and around your home.
Kelvin Collins is president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor, serving 77 counties in East Alabama, West Georgia, Southwest Georgia, Central Georgia, East Georgia, and Western South Carolina. This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB). The Better Business Bureau sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: BBB.org or E-mail: email@example.com