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The steps you should take prior to a major home improvement project

Posted on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 10:11:22 AM

Interest in renovations hit its recent peak a few years ago, but the desire to invest in home improvements remains for many homeowners. According to a report from The Boston Globe, people aren't holding back with what they spend, either. Now, remodels include big budgets, large projects and a lot of ambition. From affordable home improvement financing to favorable conditions, now is a good time for many to put money back into their properties.

However, they still have to pay attention to the nuances of a home remodel. In order to keep things on track, Home Loan Investment Bank's Brian Harvey offered up several crucial tips and tricks for interested homeowners.

"When the time comes for a homeowner to improve or repair there are some basics steps to follow to help ensure a smooth and seamless process," he explained. "One can never be too prepared when doing home improvements and researching each possible aspect will help arm you with the knowledge to make the best possible decisions for you and your home."

For starters, Harvey detailed several important steps:

  1. Pick a contractor
  2. Prioritize wants vs. needs
  3. Set a budget
  4. Look for bargains

"If you are seeking the services of a qualified professional be sure to look for some specific qualities to ensure your money is being spent wisely," Harvey stressed, outlining the first step of the process. "Before agreeing to a contract it is important to seek multiple estimates from industry professionals to allow for price comparisons. It is also helpful to ask for references both project- and industry-specific and to follow up with those references."

He added that you should be thorough when investigating a contractor. Don't be afraid to talk to previous clients - ideally, they are satisfied - and check with industry resources such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie's List and Yelp.

Next, Harvey noted that it is important to pick improvements that benefit the longevity of your home.

"You may not like the visual appeal of the kitchen cabinets - and having them replaced or resurfaced may be your preference - but replacing the tile in the bathroom where there may be broken tiles, loose grout, rot and decay will save you a major renovation cost down the road," he explained.

Now is also the time when you set your budget, plan your expenses and determine if home improvement financing is right for you. 

"Decide how much you are willing to spend and whether you can save up for this amount or if you would need to pursue a loan," he said. "If you will be saving up for it, set out a timeline and game plan for how much you will be saving and where it will be kept - such as a designated bank account. If you are financing the project, then research your different options and compare multiple choices before settling on one."

Finally, find places to cut costs. This can be the bargain bin at the local home improvement store or by picking some spots to do the labor yourself, just to name a few options. 

"If you plan to do the improvements yourself, you can plot your purchases and help minimize your overall costs by buying items on sale," Harvey concluded. "If you have set out a project plan in advance and know what materials you will need, you can find these sales and bargains over the long term and small savings on individual purchase can add up over the cost of the project and greatly affect the bottom line."