Buying a home is something that requires a once in a lifetime investment for most people, and it is expected that you will stay in it for decades and grow old in it. There comes a time however, when you find the facilities that you have in the home inadequate, space becoming cramped, because of larger families, or find a need to improve certain things so that life can be far more comfortable.
That is the time when you have to think of home improvements, as this can be a far easier and economical alternative to changing the home or moving to a bigger one. Home improvements, if done judiciously can also add to the value of a home, and help you to get a better price, in case you think of selling it. Keep this in mind when you go in for any home improvement project. Home improvement projects can mean the changing of tiles or carpets, installing wallpaper or repainting the home, putting in new appliances that can make life easier, remodeling the kitchen or bathrooms, putting up a deck or building a conservatory, converting a loft, adding new rooms, replacing windows, installing wood paneling, or many other ideas that can add to the comfort and elegance of a home.
Involve the entire family when you are contemplating any home improvement project. Make sure that you consider doing this, only when you are sure that you have the financial capability to undertake this exercise, which will always require substantial outlays of money. Once your list is ready, see if you can get professional help to prepare estimates for all the work involved, so that you can then see whether the suggested changes fit into your budget. In case they do not, make a list of priorities and postpone certain things, that may not be immediately required. You must then make sure, that if there are any physical changes made to the shape or area of your home, you will be able to get all the necessary clearances for the same from local authorities. This is important even in the case of loft conversions, as they are seen as a change of use, which does require permission to be obtained.
Quite often, the amount of work that needs to be carried out in home improvement may require you to make alternative arrangements for living, so that the home is left free for work. Factor this into your cost and timetable. Many small home improvement projects like putting in new tiles, carpet or painting are something that can be undertaken by you, in your spare time. This can save you substantial sums of money, but may take a much longer time, especially if you are only able to spare the weekends to carry out such work.
Now that you have your list of work to be done and a likely budget, it is best if you tie up your financial arrangements, so that once the work is started, it does not stop because you have run out of money. You can dip into your savings, or arrange for loans. Most home improvement projects are only envisaged after you have been living in the home for quite a while. It is almost certain, that by this time you will have paid off substantial parts of your earlier mortgage, and will have sufficient equity in the home. See if you can use this to create a second mortgage. You must however ensure that you have the capacity at present and in the future to make the necessary repayments that will be over and above the mortgage payments you are already making. Be sure that over and above the budget that you have worked out, you do leave some provision for contingencies, because you never know, when material prices will go up, you may find something better than what you had earlier thought of, or an increase in time and cost, which you had not anticipated. Being prepared for such contingencies can save you a lot of embarrassment and ensure that you need not abandon your home improvement project.
If you have decide to give out all the works to a contractor, you need to draw up a proper contract, and include all the things that you want done, the standards to be maintained, materials to be used, time schedules for completion and above all agreed payment schedules. If you have a good contractor, who is experienced in carrying out such work, all that you will have to worry about is handing over areas that need renovation or change, and that you have the money ready when it is scheduled for payment. It can always help to keep constant eye on things, but do not carry out supervision that in any way impedes the work, or ask for changes, which go against the contract. If you do this, you are almost sure to run into disputes, and time extensions needed to complete the work.
Make sure that any materials that you choose for the home improvement are of the best and from standard manufacturers, as then you will not only be assured of quality, but will always have material available in time. If you are carrying out home improvement on your own, make sure that you correctly estimate the materials required, so that you do not fall short of them and have to suspend work, when you are a part of the way into the project. This is especially true of paints, wallpaper, tiles, bathroom fittings and other proprietary items. Keep alternatives in mind, in case you do have to face such situations.
Any home improvement project can go forward smoothly, if it is well thought of in advance, the requirements are clear, and the budget adhered to, with finances firmly in place. And, do see that you have taken care of all the permissions from your home owners association, local authorities, or anywhere, from where they are necessary. The final completion will lead to your having a home that is much more comfortable to live in, and one that has greatly improved its value.