Improving your space lets you tailor your home to your lifestyle. Number crunchers try to say the purpose of the best home improvement tips is to add long-term value. But everyone who owns their dwelling, whether it’s a fixer, a new house or a condo, knows the real joy is in making a house into a home, personalizing it match your everyday preferences.
Thankfully, you can customize your home and add value at the same time if you follow these home improvement tips and ideas from industry experts and homeowners just like you.
#1. Plan, Plan, Plan
Make a plan for what you want your home to look like. If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t get there. Figure out what will add comfort, beauty and flexibility for you.
In the short-term, the home improvements you make add enjoyment for you and your family. In the long-term, those same improvements add to the resale value. The best home improvement tips help you now and in the future.
You need to plan when you start each project. From the best home improvement tips, pick one project. List the tools and equipment you will need. Do you want to do it yourself or hire someone else? How much will materials cost? Figure out a preliminary budget. Then break it down into steps. Your plan will change as you learn more about what is involved and get the best home improvement tips.
#2. Find Ideas
You know you want your kitchen to look better, but not sure how to make that happen? You’re in luck. You’ll find the best home improvement tips in magazines and online websites, all with lots of full color photos. Check out Pinterest for ideas. Look at print and online magazines with DIY home improvement tips. Good ones include This Old House, BHG, and Houzz.
#3. Get Advice for the Best Home Improvement Tips
Homeowners everywhere are constantly making changes to their homes. Thanks to the internet, you can contact them via forums and Facebook pages. They are an excellent source of the best home improvement tips because these people have actually planned the project and carried it out.
Home improvement centers likes Lowe’s, True Value and Ace Hardware often have workshops. The people who work there are usually a fund of the best home improvement tips. Go to local home shows. Vendors pass out free brochures and you can ask specific questions about the project you have in mind.
#4. Get the Right Tools
A multi-tool from the home improvement store is a good place to start. Add a hammer and a set of screwdrivers. Eventually you’ll want a wrench, measuring device and a pair of pliers. Check out suggestions online like this one at Houzz.
Buy conservatively. Tools can get addictive, the need for the latest and greatest. Save money by going to garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores.
You learn by doing when it comes to home improvement projects. Write out a list of seasonal maintenance and learn to do each task. There are a multitude of online guides and books at your library. For example, Better Homes and Gardens and House Logic have a number of them.
Is there a dingy closet that could use a coat of paint? Start there. It’s out of the way so you can make a mess and learn as you go. Then move on to painting a room with the colors that bring you joy.
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#6. Save Money and Time
Some of the best home improvement tips are about saving money on your projects. Decide where you want to spend you money so that it will bring you the most enjoyment and in a way that will add to the overall value of your home.
The rule of thumb is to spend the most money on equipment, appliances, furnishings and materials that are difficult to replace. In a bathroom, that would be the bathtub. Spend less on those that are easy to change out, like the faucet. If you love to cook, it makes sense to spend big bucks on a professional range. But if you are more concerned about the look of your kitchen, put your money into a tile floor.
#7. List Quick Fixes
Put together a list of tiny projects you can do when you have 10 minutes here, an hour there. A good place to start is by signing up for a home energy audit. This is usually free from your local utility company. Then implement some of their suggestions, which are often fast and relatively easy. Even better, at the audit you will learn about rebates, low-cost components and do-it-yourself guides that are available for free.
Look outside. Clean out your gutters. This is easy to handle as long as you have a sturdy ladder and cleaning tools. Add beauty to the yard. For example, install steppingstones through your yard. These make it easy to walk during the rainy days of winter and add visual appeal.
There are a limitless number of quick fixes that can be done in a few minutes, a few hours or over the weekend. They give you experience, add beauty to your environment and value to your home.
#8. Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row
Quick fixes are usually affordable. But when you want to start a major upgrade, you will need your financial ducks in a row. Start now to figure out how you will finance. Otherwise you will never find the money.
All of the best home improvement tips articles emphasize that you never want to put your home at risk just to add a room or garage or other update. So the first rule is to figure out funding methods that are safe. Check out advice on Bankrate, HUD and other reputable online sites.
Ideas include using your savings, a low-interest credit card if the project is small enough, or an unsecured loans. For really big projects, you can consider a cash-out refinance. Talk to a bank lender, realtor or financial consultant for ideas that meet your circumstances.
Many improvements, especially if are eco-friendly, will earn a tax break or rebate. Check out the possibilities with an accountant or contractor.
Do your research so you are on firm financial ground. The middle of a remodel is no time to discover that you are having trouble with the financing.
#9. Choose a Big Improvement
Look at your big hopes and dreams for your home. Calculate which will give you the best return on investment and give your home the greatest long-term investment. From these, choose the one that will give you the most pleasure.
Then do your research about local zoning and neighborhood requirements. You don’t want to add a garage or fence or addition, only to discover it doesn’t follow the rules and regulations. You might end having to remove it or rebuild it, a serious waste of money.
Then start in with calculations. The 2016 Cost vs. Value study is a good starting point. HGTV puts the best home improvement tips into perspective here. Find a home improvement value calculator. You can also get guidance from lenders and real estate agents.
#10. Research Contractors
Many home improvements are easy to learn for the weekend handyman. But major projects require a contractor. Choose wisely and do your research. This person and his crew will be working on the biggest investment you own. There are way too many stories of people getting scammed by bad contractors. Check out the Better Business Bureau. Get recommendations from friends and neighbors. Look at reviews on Yelp, Google+ and Angie’s List.
Make sure he is licensed, bonded and insured. Never assume anything—actually check it out. Get a quote in writing. Ask him for references. And then call those people. The Federal Trade Commission has a Consumer Information page. Check it out for questions to ask the contractors you are considering.
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