How To Hire A Good Home Improvement Professional

home improvement

Unless you’re an extreme DIY-er, there will probably come a time when you need to hire a home improvement professional. Whether you want to have your entire house redone or just need some touch-ups, you’ll want to make sure that anyone you hire for the job is definitely the right person. Before you sign a contract or hand over any money, make sure you do the following to hire a good home improvement professional:

Ask for recommendations. Family, friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances can be a great source of information on the quality of a home improvement professional. You can also look online for reviews of a professional and his/her services. A good subcontractor will be easy to contact, ready and willing to answer questions, and know how to connect with general contractors and other subcontractors in the area. Ask for customer testimonials, samples of the professional’s past work, and contracts you can read through in advance.

Shop around. Remember that you get what you pay for — sometimes the cheapest option is not the best. On the flip side, you don’t necessarily have to pay a mint to find a quality contractor or subcontractor. Plan ahead and give yourself time to find the right home improvement professional at a good price. If you’re unsure what a good price is for your particular project, do some research online and ask for a cost breakdown for your project.

Make sure your professional is fully licensed and credentialed. Most subcontractors, such as electricians and plumbers, need to be licensed according to state and local laws. Their license information should be either on display in the office or readily available when you ask. You should also look for professionals who are certified or recognized in their field — look for membership in groups such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or the National Association of Home Builders as well as professional niche associations (plumbing, electrical, home design, etc.).

Don’t hire an uninsured contractor. Insurance protects you and it protects them in case of any unforeseen disaster or problem. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance or have it written into your contract.

Be honest about your budget. The last thing you want is to have to bail on a home improvement project halfway through or go into debt to finish it. Know what you’re able to pay before you sign any contract and make sure that your contractor knows as well. Make sure that your professional respects your limits and will not make financial decisions on a project without your input and approval.

Make sure anyone you hire is easy to contact and communicate with. You should be in touch with a lead person on any large project and be able to ask them questions and contact them as needed (during business hours). A contractor or subcontractor that doesn’t communicate or is hard to get in touch with may make your project harder to complete on time and within budget.

Do your due diligence before signing a contract. Make sure you read a contract in full and are completely happy with the terms. Check with the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce to make sure there are no complaints against the contractor or the company itself.

Ask if the professional offers a warranty. If anything about your home improvement project fails or breaks after completion, you need to know how to fix it. Not all home improvement professionals offer warranties on their work, but remember that it may be worth paying a little extra for the warranty.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.

Why To Consider Wheel-Chair Accessibility When Remodeling Your Home

Why To Consider Wheel Chair Accessibility When Remodeling Your Home

Whether you’re on the verge of retirement or still enjoying your youth, you might find yourself suddenly facing a wheelchair scenario in your home. An unexpected health emergency can happen at any time and leave you or a loved one temporarily or permanently unable to walk. A visiting family member or friend might also suddenly need to use a wheelchair. Given these possibilities, it’s important to make certain that your home is wheelchair accessible.

Here are three areas that you should definitely update during your next remodel:

Home Entry And Exit

A short incline ramp leading to your front or back door can make it much easier for you or a loved one to access and exit your home as needed. A ramp can also make it easier for emergency services personnel to wheel you or a loved one out of your home on a wheeled stretcher during a major health crisis. To prevent wheel slide-offs and make walking easier for someone transitioning from a wheelchair after an acute health event, make certain that the ramp is outfitted with rails and thin, non-slip permanent mats or runners.

Mobility In The Kitchen

When someone must use a wheelchair, they often experience problems with moving around a kitchen and accessing storage and appliances that are at counter and upper wall level. To make your kitchen wheelchair-friendly, open up the space so that all foot traffic areas are wide enough for a wheelchair. Additionally, install cabinets and storage that offer features that allow you to make future wheelchair adjustments. For example, you might install an island that has a hidden folding tabletop that when unfolded allows someone in a wheelchair to use it as a work space.

Bathroom Ease Of Use

Many homes have small bathrooms with cabinet-style sinks and full bathtubs that are almost impossible to use with a wheelchair. Create more wheelchair space by moving a bathroom to a larger room, taking out a wall or installing a low pedestal sink. It’s wise to contact bathroom upgrade specialists like the team at Four Seasons Home Products to help you design a wheelchair-accessible bathroom. They can recommend and install a seat-style low-threshold shower or walk-in tub to make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to access and use a shower.

There are many other ways that you can make your home more wheelchair accessible. These areas are typically the ones that initially cause the most problems when someone must transition to interacting with a wheelchair.

House in Flames: How to Restore and Rejuvenate Your Home after a Fire

House in Flames

Local fire departments respond to over 358,000 residential fires every year, and these disasters can change your life forever. In addition to structural damage, you might find yourself struggling to find important documents and prized personal possessions. While you will no doubt be in a state of shock for at least a short period of time, you need to immediately begin taking steps to restore your home as soon as the fire has been put out.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Almost all home insurance providers require their clients to notify them of residential fires as soon as reasonably possible. Even if you are not ready to begin dealing with a claims adjuster, you should still speak with your insurance company about getting an advance. An advance can help you cover some of the initial costs such as replacing your clothing and toiletries. You must also track your living expenses during that time if you have a “loss of use” clause in your insurance policy.

Assess the Damage

Assessing the damage is one of the most difficult steps in this process, and making any mistakes on your claim could end up costing you quite a bit of money. That is why all homeowners should immediately invest in a binder or folder to store all of the information regarding the fire. As you remember new possessions that were in the home or the fire department notifies you of specific damage, that information must immediately go into the folder.

Account for Personal Belongings

Your home insurance most likely includes a clause regarding personal possessions that are damaged in a fire. Unlike the structural damage that will be assessed by the claims adjuster or an inspector, you will most likely need to estimate the price of your personal possessions that were lost. You should begin with some of the more expensive items that you had in your home including your furniture and appliances. Many of the smaller items like your clothing and decorations will most likely be lumped into a single payment from the insurance company.

Speak With a Fire Restoration Specialist

Depending on the severity of the fire, you might prefer to work with a fire restoration specialist instead of having your home completely rebuilt. Some companies, like Icon Property, know that many homeowners must speak with a variety of contractors to determine if it will be more economical to rebuild or restore. Most homes can be restored if the fire didn’t damage any of the key structural components such as the foundation or load-bearing walls.

Once you are finally able to move back into your home, you want to be absolutely sure that your family will remain safe in the coming years. You must install new smoke alarms and fire detectors throughout your home and then test them as often as possible. You should also have an escape plan in place so that your family knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

Remodeling for Revenue: How to Flip Your House to Increase Its Value

Remodeling for Revenue How to Flip Your House to Increase Its Value

Flipping homes can be an effective way to make money from real estate. However, you need to know what types of upgrades will yield the highest returns on your investment before you decide to make them. Here are just some strategies that you should employ to ensure that you maximize your profits from each flip:

More Living Space Generally Means a Higher Price

In some areas, homes are priced per square foot. Therefore, adding more living space will translate to a higher asking price for the house. Some ideas for adding more space include finishing the attic or basement. In some cases, adding an egress to an already finished space will allow you to advertise it when listing the home.

It may also be a good idea to put an addition on the home that can be used as an extra bedroom, office or bathroom. If you are going to add to the house, make sure that you have the proper permits to do so. On average, each additional square foot that you add of living space could equal $100 or more added to the listing price.

Update the Kitchen and Bathroom

For those who have a limited budget, it is in your best interest to focus on the bathroom and kitchen spaces. Kitchens are where those who live in a home are going to spend the majority of their time. Bathrooms are generally where an individual is going to start or end his or her day. Being able to do so in style will make it more likely that a buyer will pay more for the house.

Upgrading the kitchen and bathroom is also a good idea because it makes the home easier for the next buyer to sell in the future. That alone will make the home more valuable because no one wants to pay for something that they can’t liquidate if necessary. Depending on where you live a new bathroom or updated kitchen could add $20,000 to $100,000 to the value of a house.

Put a Hot Tub in the Backyard

A nice spa with all of the proper hot tub accessories in the backyard makes a home more appealing because it gives the owner a place to entertain or relax after a hard day at work. They can be used either in the winter or the summer, which makes it more versatile than a pool for those who live in more temperate climates.

While individuals may be able to install them themselves, it is generally better to have a professional install it for you. It should only take a few minutes to a few hours depending on how much electrical work needs to be done to accommodate the new item.

In some cases, your installer may suggest ways that you can further spruce up your yard to add value to the flip. In most cases, a home’s value goes up by whatever you paid for it, but it could indirectly increase your home’s value because it makes the home more appealing.

Add New Front and Garage Doors

Replacing the current front and garage door with new ones makes the home look cleaner, brighter and more attractive at first sight. Typically, you will increase the value of the home by as much as 400 percent of what you paid for them. Therefore, if you spend $5,000 for new doors, the home will be worth $20,000 more.

While flipping may not be for everyone, it can be lucrative for those who understand how to do so successfully. For the most part, you have to understand what buyers in a given market want and then tailor the home to those needs to make it as attractive as possible when it goes on sale.

Home-Building Happiness: 3 Necessary Tools To Help Your Renovation

Home Building Happiness

Homeowners often perform renovations without the right tools to get the job done, which results in a lot of wasted time and money. Sometimes the use of incorrect equipment even leads to accidents and injuries.

To make your next home renovation a less stressful project that concludes with you feeling happy and satisfied, utilize these three tools from the start:

Structure Scanners

A lot of homeowners fail to scan existing structures to determine the location of wiring, water pipes, sewage lines and structural damage. They may even dig areas and install foundations without checking that the ground is stable. You can buy or rent inexpensive handheld wire, cable and pipe scanning tools in local hardware shops and online. For underground surveying, you should hire a ground penetrating radar firm instead of renting equipment. These firms can also confirm that any concrete structures that you build on, for example, haven’t degraded to a point that requires that you replace them.

Commercial Forklifts

Another necessary tool during even a medium-sized renovation is a forklift. Ripped out walls and dug up flooring and concrete, for example, create a lot of waste that is far easier and faster to remove when tossed into a bin and transported on-site via a forklift. Forklifts used with wooden pallets are also fantastic for transporting new construction materials and appliances. You can easily buy or rent a forklift through a trusted supplier like Heavy Lift Forklifts. Forklift suppliers typically also offer additional services, including a variety of attachments for different types of jobs and maintenance and repair support.

Waste Bins

No matter the size of a renovation project, you can always expect a lot of waste. You should never begin construction without first having a plan to dispose of old and leftover construction materials and renting waste bins designed for the specific materials you expect to throw away. Keep in mind that many materials are recyclable. Check with local recycling companies and construction waste recycling and disposal firms for more information and to compare bin and transport prices. Since some of the waste materials are likely hazardous, also make certain to ask for a list of materials that you should handle with care and disposal instructions.

Having read about the many benefits related to the use of these three tools, why would you ever begin a home renovation without them? Start investing in them today so that you can enjoy your renovation for years to come without any regrets.