Home Improvement Tips

Whether you are planning to put your home on the market or make it more comfortable to live in, there is a lot to be gained from making home improvements.

Improvements in your home could involve:

– Repairs of already existing structures,

– Remodeling certain parts of the home to give them a facelift,

– Making additions to your home to improve quality of life,

– Home improvement projects in order to make a house more energy efficient or environment-friendly.

To decide on a home improvement project can seem pretty daunting. But armed with a few handy home improvement tips, you could be well on your way to the ideal home of your dreams. Most of these tips are easy to follow and will make deciding on home improvement projects a breeze for you.

– Before deciding on a home improvement project, you have to decide exactly why you think your home needs it, how much you should be spending on it, and what is the result you would be satisfied with.

– The first home improvements you should consider are repair moves. Attend to any ceiling repair problems, the plumbing job you have been putting off or that attic insulation that has become necessary. This holds true whether you are planning to live in the home yourself, put it on rent, or put the home on sale.

– Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is a smart home improvement move if you are planning to put your home on sale. This increases the value of the home immediately, and if researched properly, can be done with very little investment.

– Home improvement projects that involve remodeling need to be well thought out, so that they do not look out of place in the house. They are usually done to improve lighting, provide more space or glamorize the home. Remodeling a home can also mean an improvement in the atmosphere. For instance, if a kitchen wall is broken down to create an open kitchen, it immediately makes the home more friendly and sociable.

– Making additions to a home like adding a deck, a pool, or an outdoor storage area are usually the result of what the family needs, but could also be excellent selling points if the home goes up for sale some day. Additions to the home should be considered as home improvement projects if there is extra outdoor space which by itself does not improve the value of the home. A good tip for an improvement in the exterior spaces of the home is also to consider the neighborhood and only make changes and additions that would blend in.

– Helping a home improve its energy efficiency is also a great idea for a householder, because not only does it cut down on the electricity and gas bills, it is a great thing to do for the environment. Improvement in the insulation of the home can be a long-term blessing. Investing on a home so that it at least partially harvests solar energy could be another way of improving the home for posterity.

It is obvious that home improvement projects should not be carried out on a whim. It is essential to evaluate why a specific home improvement project is required, and what would be gained from the investment. While home improvements that involve repair increase the comfort in the home and its longevity and are therefore essential, all other sorts of home improvement need to be carefully evaluated before embarking on them.

The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason(s) many states have fallen considerably short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicant demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you don’t have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let’s be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to “qualify” to do home improvement work, brings many a “character” to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, seemed to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consisted of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that dealt with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, “If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them!!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you’ll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place.” As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works or there is no money for more regulations (testing). I have been hearing this for 30 years. The county in which I live (Suffolk County, New York) still does not require any demonstration of home improvement ability to obtain a home improvement license. The fee has consistently gone up but the requirements have pretty much stayed the same. We are one of the highest taxed counties in the country, so I refuse to believe there is no money to develop and implement a better policing and screening process in the home improvement industry.