Friday 6/5 – By Barbara

How do you decide the right time to do a home improvement project? What is my budget?How do you decide what projects should be prioritized? How do you get started? There are so many questions when deciding what and how to do things to what is most commonly someone’s biggest asset.

Always plan ahead for a project. Decide what you want to do and do the projects that add value to your home or are necessary to maintain the integrity of the home. For example, if your roof is leaking but you really want to redo your kitchen, you need to take care of that roof leak before it causes more damage even though the kitchen may add more value to your home.

Call your contractor in the planning phase. They can guide you on where to start and what you need to select. They can answer budget questions and direct you to design professionals if necessary.  If you call and think you are getting it done right away, odds are you will be disappointed. Most contractors book work months in advance and aren’t available on short notice.  It’s also not always as simple as coming in and getting started.

Some projects will require plans from an architect, engineering and obtaining permits from the township you live in.  All of these things take time to get and in some cases getting all of the paperwork in order takes longer than physically working on the project.

Be realistic to avoid disappointment. We would all love to get our bathroom completely renovated for $3,000 but the reality is that even if you select low level components to install you will be spending a considerable amount more than that. Some contractors get discounts at supply houses on finishes for certain projects and some pass those discounts along to their customers. Take your time and be sure that you and your contractor are on the same page. This will help to avoid unwelcome surprises.

A contractors goal should always be to complete a project to your desired outcome in a timely fashion. Your part is to be realistic and not expect Buckingham Palace on bungalow budget and to have it done in a week.