Home Improvement Tips Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Reasons for A Redo

Home improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.

You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.

Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.

You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.

Your family has grown and you need more space.

Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?

Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.

And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.

You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:

Adding or remodelling a bath

Improving the kitchen

Adding a new room

Landscaping

Adding a bedroom

Adding or enclosing a garage.

If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.

Home Maintenance versus Home Improvements

It’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something has broken. Replacing a leaky bathtub may be the first step to a major bath remodeling: since the tub has to be replaced anyway, why not do the whole room?

While that might be a legitimate reason to remodel, avoid basing your home improvement projects on immediate needs. You’ll be better off if you minimize problems with proper maintenance. Examine every part of your home at least once a year. Check the roof, the plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as become aware of a problem, fix it. Making repairs when you’re first aware of them will help you avoid larger expenses later on. Keep in mind that maintenance does not add to the value of your home. Usually repairs are not improvements; they are necessities.

Hiring Professionals May Save You Time and Money

It should go without saying that home projects can be expensive, so you may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. That may be a smart move for small projects. You won’t have to wait for someone to fit your house into their busy schedule, and you can boast about having done the work yourself.

But unless you’re very versatile, major home improvements are better left to professionals. If you decide to remodel the kitchen and plan to do the work yourself, will you be able to handle the plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work on your own?. And don’t forget that you’ll need to finish it quickly, because you won’t have a kitchen as long as it’s a “work in process” and eating three meals a day in restaurants could get expensive. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time. And you’ll be responsible for getting all the necessary permits and inspections.

Hiring people who have the required experience can save you money and time, too. For example, these professionals can help you get a custom look using stock products, and that can be a significant savings. Getting something done right the first time will give you value that lasts for years.

To find qualified and dependable home improvement specialists, check with friends, business associates, and neighbours for recommendations. Always get at least three references, and check them out thoroughly. Also check with the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Their numbers can be found in the community services section of your telephone book.

Once you’ve located the necessary home improvement specialists, make sure everyone is in agreement about the design, the schedule, and the budget, and get the details down in writing in a signed contract.

It’s also wise to check on professional certifications and licenses, where required, and be certain that the contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded. Your town or city Building Department can provide that information. And it’s very important that you make sure contractors carry workers’ compensation insurance: if workers are injured on the job, you won’t be liable if the contractor is covered. Request copies of their insurance certificates. And make sure that either you or your contractor have gotten any necessary permits before the work begins. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the professionals you may need to work with when you remodel your home:

Architect: Architects design homes or additions from the foundation to the roof. If your project will require structural changes such as adding or removing walls, or if the design is complex, you will probably need an architect. Since architects may charge an hourly or a flat fee, make sure you get an estimate of the total cost: drawing up the plans for a major remodeling project can take 80 hours or more.

Contractor: The contractor oversees the home improvement project, including hiring and supervising workers, getting the necessary permits, making sure inspections are done as needed, and providing insurance for work crews. It’s always a good idea to get proposals from one or more reputable contractors, based on the specific details of your project.

Be sure each contractor bids on exactly the same plan so that you can compare their bids more easily. When you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure the contract specifies that you will pay in stages. You’ll usually pay one third when the contract is signed so that the contractor can buy supplies. The number and timing for making the remaining payments will depend on the size of the project. Do not make the final payment until all the work is successfully completed, inspected, and approved.

Interior Designers: Interior designers are specialists who will provide advice on furnishings, wall coverings, colors, styles, and more. They help save you time by narrowing your selection, and save money because they usually receive professional discounts from their suppliers. When meeting with an interior designer, be sure to tell them about your personal style and preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, or you may be able to negotiate a flat fee of approximately 25% of the total project cost.

Green Home Improvement Tips

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These days, everyone wants to do their part to help the environment and cut down on waste. There are many obvious ways to do this, such as recycling or buying a hybrid car. There are other less obvious ways that can make a big impact. One of the best ways to conserve energy and, as a result, save money in the long run, is by doing a green home renovation. While this may seem like a daunting undertaking, with the right planning, it can be a relatively stress-free project that results in both measurable and non-measurable benefits.

To begin with, it is important to have a plan. Green home improvement differs from basic home repair because you are working toward an ultimate goal of making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is advisable to work with a green contractor who has experience with this specific kind of renovation. The contractor can help you decide if you may need a drastic overhaul to achieve optimal conservation, or if a few small changes will suffice. A simple step towards going green is switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion detectors and timers that keep lights off when they are not needed.

A more involved way of making a home eco-friendly is by installing a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Your contractor can help you install a system that optimizes the space you have, with the most efficient use of energy. When installing a new HVAC system, it is important to keep in mind the climate that you live and the needs of your home.

It is also advisable to think green when selecting the products that you will use in your renovation. Not all materials are created equal, as many contain products that are harmful to the environment. Try to stick to products that are long-lasting, and contain recycled material that is eco-friendly. Also, by selecting products that are durable, you avoid having to replace them, and as such, are able to cut down on waste. Many green products can be found in home improvement stores, so be sure to some research before committing to a brand.

Window replacement is another way to conserve energy and cut down on costs. By installing windows with better insulation, you are reducing the amount of heat or air-conditioning that is wasted and your home is better able to heat or cool itself using natural resources. This is a significant way to reduce energy bills, since your home is more efficient and requires less energy to maintain.

Lastly, it is important to remember that maintaining a green home is an ongoing commitment. Be conscious of using eco-friendly cleaning products and other materials. Make sure to keep water use to a minimum, and always turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. While it is difficult to change old habits, it is vital that we all do our best to conserve resources and help our environment.

Simple Home Improvement Tips

Sometimes in life, we all need to remodel and change the way our homes look. However, this does not necessarily mean moving to a new home, installing new equipments or anything of that nature. There are far too many simple things that you can do to improve your home.

To start with, one reason as to why our homes can look old is because of them being not kept up with. Cleaning up is by far the cheapest method that you can use for your home improvement. Simply set a day off work, hire some professionals and practically have your home completely cleaned up from top to bottom, in and out. This will change the way your house looks like.

Planting and pruning of flowers and plants around your home could also be a very inexpensive method for your home improvement. Trim the fence, flowers and plant new attractive flowers in areas that look more open. This will certainly help increase your compound lighting while at the same time beautify it.

Painting is another method that can play a huge role in your home improvement plans. This will help brighten up your home as well as give a different look. However, to attain the best in your house painting, it is important that you hire a qualified and licensed contractor to do the job for you. He knows the cons and pros of a good painting and will certainly give the best impression and suggestions.

Make your lawn greener. This is the welcoming carpet to your home and you should therefore make your fa├žade as beautiful as you can. Regular watering of the lawn will ensure that the lawn remains green. Fill up the bare ground with the necessarily plants.

Finally, repair all the broken furniture and doors. Hiring a licensed contractor to see this through will ensure efficiency and professionalism. Listen to the suggestions he makes and take time to endorse them.

Green Home Improvements Take Advantage of Tax Credits for Energy Saving Home Improveme Nts

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Green home improvements have been encouraged in recent years through the offering of tax incentives. For people interested in making their homes more energy efficient and gaining the tax benefits at the same time, here are some tips to help you understand what types of green home improvements qualify for a tax credit and how to make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn your benefit.

Some green home tax credits are expiring at the end of 2010. Although we are approaching year-end, there is still time to take advantage of some of these money-saving incentives for energy-saving home improvements, but you must hurry.

Tax credits are offered on a wide range of green home improvements and upgrades. Some are very inexpensive to do; other can be quite costly even with the tax credit. Here is a summary of what is available for 2010.

The simplest and least expensive energy-saving home improvement that qualifies is adding insulation. Insulation for your attic can be purchased for no more than $50 to $100, and if you install it yourself (which is fairly easy and straightforward to do) there is no additional cost. This will earn you a tax credit of 30% of the cost.

For more expensive investments, tax credits of 30% of the cost, up to a maximum credit of $1500, are available now for the purchase and installation energy efficient furnaces and air conditioning units, energy efficient windows and doors, and water heaters. The credit includes the cost of materials and also the cost of installation for all these items except for the installation on doors and windows (don’t ask me why windows and doors are excluded; it makes no sense, but that is the law).

It is important to remember that these tax credits apply only to your primary residence. Second homes and rental homes and apartments do not qualify for the items listed above.

Some Tips for Green Home Improvement

Today, people are realizing how important it is to keep our environment healthy. They do not want to waste their hard-earned money by living in an inefficient home. This is the reason why most homeowners, nowadays, are keen to improve their house and make it greener. Going green does not necessarily mean making drastic changes in the house. Even simple alterations can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your house. Listed below are some useful green home improvement tips that can help you make your property environment friendly.

* Maintain a nice herb garden. The good part is that it would not take up much space. So, you do not need to be a skilled gardener for maintaining it. There are a lot of herbs that can be easily grown indoors, which means that, even if you do not have enough outdoor space, you can still enjoy the flavor of home-grown herbs. Herbs, like mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and marjoram, can be planted in cute small pots and lined up with the kitchen windowsill. By doing so, you can always have the basic herbs within your reach, anytime you need. In addition, the aroma which it would bring to your kitchen would be an added advantage.

* Paper and plastic bags, that are used by the stores, cause a lot of environmental issues, right from overflowing landfills and oil consumption to soil pollution and more. Investing in reusable bags is the best possible way for avoiding these problems. You can use the reusable bags while going out to shop for groceries, clothes, equipment or any other stuff.

* Paying the bills online is also a step towards saving the planet. If you pay the bills online, then you not only save your time but also the environment, by lessening the amount of paper which is used for the monthly statements. So, always have all your bills sent at your email address and not at your letterbox at home.

* If you have those old traditional light bulbs at home, then replace them with CFLs. CFL bulbs are more durable and energy-efficient than the ordinary incandescent bulbs. Thus, if you switch to CFL light bulbs, then you would surely save a lot of money by cutting back the energy consumption.

* Buy green home products. Apart from being safe for the environment, eco-friendly products also benefit people by saving their money. Moreover, by using these products, you would not be exposed to toxic chemicals, which in turn would reduce health issues. In short, by switching to environment friendly products you get, not one or two, but a lot of benefits.

So, follow these green home improvement tips and play your role towards Mother Nature as a responsible citizen. None of the above listed tips would cost you much. Making slight changes in your lifestyle would do the trick. So, make the most of these ideas by implementing them and enjoy their financial and health benefits.

Home Improvement Tips That Will Add Comfort and Distinction to Your Living Spaces

Most homeowners continually look for new ways to update the look of their home while being energy-efficient at the same time. Living greener is also important for improving the air quality and cutting back on harmful toxins found within an air-tight space. Here are a few home improvement tips that can help you add beauty to your home plus provide a more comfortable atmosphere.

The Secret of Cork

Cork is an amazing natural product that is made from tree bark. These cork trees are never downed and continue to provide substantial products. Popular in home renovation for floor replacement, users find that cork is durable, sound absorbent and a wonderful insulating material. New technology has provided different styles that virtually trick the eye into seeing wide planks of wood, bamboo or marble effects. Easy to care for and never cold, cork is easy to install for a home improvement project. Different shades are also made to match any decor.

Tackle Winter Blues with Solar Light

Having sunlight stream into your home during the dead of winter may sound appealing but can be expensive. Tubular skylights have been introduced as an alternative to costly skylights that require major home renovation. An aluminum tube is fitted between rafters with a polycarbonate UV resistant dome on the exterior. Light is allowed to flow evenly into any area without danger of fading carpet and saves on energy costs. This is a great home improvement idea for those that live in areas with dark winter months. Plants also thrive under the vast sunlight, providing cleaner air.

Mold Resistant Products

Mold is considered a silent killer because it hides and works on respiratory areas of the body. While trying to keep your home as clean and airtight as possible, there is always this risk. If your home improvement project consists of replacing drywall, look into a new product that partially does away with organic material that mold feeds on. Fiberglass facing is being used as a barrier against moisture and is offered by most of the top drywall manufacturers. Caulking, drywall tape, paint, sealant and insulation are also available to help protect your home from mold.

Bathroom Smart Fans

If your home improvement project is geared toward the bathroom, be sure and include a smart fan. Fans that dissipate high humidity are great for keeping mildew and bacteria at bay but no one wants to run the bathroom fan all day. The smart fan detects someone entering the room, turns on and stays on as long as high humidity is detected. Once the humidity level is brought to a normal level, it automatically shuts off. A home renovation of the bath has a much better chance of staying fresh and clean when utilizing proper humidity levels.

Home improvement jobs can be time consuming and seem never ending. By selecting new items that address problems in your home, you will feel more secure and also be able to add value and flair. There are many other home renovation ideas that are available through companies that strive to update products for better living. Follow those that promote green construction and LEED energy efficiency. Your home improvement projects will become more worthwhile and provide a larger degree of comfort to your family.