Your home is a financial asset in the way you live, as well as in financial savings. If uncared for, your home can lose value and, effectively, you could miss out on important financial surplus. Though, if properly maintained and enhanced, it will pay off as you can live comfortably and improve the value of your home at the same time.
Home improvements also tend to raise neighborhood standards and, as a result, property values will rise. From a community standpoint, home improvements mean advanced employment, improved markets for materials and home products – and consequently a more flourishing community.
If you are practical with tools and have the knowledge, you can save money by doing many jobs yourself. But unless you are capable in wiring, plumbing, installing heat systems, cutting through walls, etc, you should rely on professionals for such work. Professionals can do a great job, but will cost more. However, in the long run good work will add value to your property and may be able to save you money on your mortgage. If you need help with working out your payments, use a mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance.
If you plan to use the services of a dealer or contractor, take care to choose one with a good reputation. There are several ways to check on a contractor:
- Talk with people for whom he has done work.
- Check his place of business to see that he is legitimate and professional.
- Find out how he rates with known building product distributors and wholesale suppliers.
- Ask friends and relatives for names of firms that they could recommend.
Before deciding on a contractor, you may want to get quotes from two or three different firms. Make sure that each bid is based on the same specifications and the same grade of materials. If these bids vary widely, find out why.
Many contractors present package plans that cover the whole deal. Under such a plan the contractor provides all materials, takes care of all work involved, and arranges for your loan.
If going for a loan to finance the work, your contractor can make a loan application for you, but you are the one who must repay the loan, so you should see that the work is done accurately.
The contract that both you and the contractor sign should state plainly the type and degree of improvements to be made and the materials to be used. Before you sign, get the contractor to tell you:
- How much the entire job will cost.
- How much interest you will pay on the loan (if taking one out).
- How much you will pay in service charges.
- How many payments you must make to pay off the loan, and how much each of these payments will be.
After the entire job is finished in an agreeable way, you sign a completion certificate. By signing this paper you certify that you approve the work and materials and you give permission to the lender to pay the contractor the money you borrowed.