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How to begin a home improvement project

Posted on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 10:27:57 AM

Home improvement projects were seemingly bigger than ever before in 2015. Both do-it-yourselfers and renovation professionals were hard at work remodeling kitchens, installing new roofing and completing the variety of other projects that proved so popular last year.

Homeowners looking to dive into improvement projects in 2016 are probably excited to get started, but there are a few steps to take before any of the real work begins.

Antonio Barros of Home Loan Investment Bank recommended that homeowners first carefully assess their current residence. Put together a list of both the good and the bad features. When you decide which project will take priority - whether it's a room addition or an open floor plan - it's time to bring in the professionals who will provide guidance on the physical structure of the home and the ability to make certain changes. Many home renovations require you to comply with local building and zoning laws.

"Go to your local city hall and inquire about what permits or building laws you will need to comply with to avoid delays in the home improvement project," said Barros. "I would welcome the expertise of a designer, architect or licensed general contractor to provide advice on any structural and styling perspectives and help prioritize your list of home improvement ideas."

Before any renovations are made, homeowners need to get multiple quotes and find a contractor/builder they can trust. Barros suggested the Better Business Bureau's website as a research tool for selecting reliable contractors and avoiding common problems associated with improvement projects. Once the legwork is done, you can relax a little. 

"If the builder is managing the project for you, it's up to the builder to subcontract some of the work that may require a licensed professional (electrician, plumber and other trades)," said Barros. 

Careful preparation ahead of time is essential to using your home improvement financing effectively. 

"Most renovations tend to go over budget due to poor planning," Barros warned. "Make sure that you have reviewed all the options with your spouse or significant other to avoid fixing problems in the middle of the project. And remember, the more experts you speak to or research on the web, the better chance to complete the project on time and on BUDGET!"