Home improvement projects have a number of benefits. They may add real value to your home, and they are a great way to get a little extra sweat equity. But, you should also be aware of what you’re getting into before you start. In order to ensure you’re getting what you pay for, you should check out your contractor’s background, credentials, and references.
According to a recent survey, 57 percent of Americans intend to do some sort of home improvement project in the next year. And, more than half of those respondents plan to hire a professional for all or part of the work.
The most popular home improvement categories include outdoor work, landscaping, and backyard improvements. In the last two years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people putting up fences and building decks. As a result, there are several new players entering the market. These vendors are competing on differentiation and premiumization.
Before you decide to hire a contractor, it’s a good idea to make a list of the work you’d like done. This will help you compare prices, establish a payment schedule, and negotiate with contractors. You should also be sure that the work will comply with your city’s building codes. If you are hiring a contractor, be sure that they have a license in your county and that they are insured.
You should also make sure that your contract is in writing. A written contract should contain all details of the project, including the timeline and payment schedule. It’s also a good idea to ask for references and a copy of the insurance certificate.
For homeowners, it’s a good idea to look for a contractor with a proven track record. One of the best ways to do this is to ask your neighbors or friends. Make sure you choose a company that has a great reputation and is backed by a good record with the Better Business Bureau.
You should also be aware that in many counties, it is a Class A misdemeanor to engage in “home improvement” without a license. You can face fines of $500 to $5,000. Your local building code office will be able to tell you whether or not your contractor has a license.
There are a number of unlicensed companies operating in the grey market, but many are members of reputable associations. Even if you do choose to work with an unlicensed company, you should still check their background to be certain.
Some of the major vendors in the home improvement business have come off their highs of the previous year. Many of these retailers have turned to omni-retail strategies, which means they bundle various home improvement services with their offerings. This has created a more competitive marketplace.
It’s a good idea to have a few home improvement projects lined up before the end of the year. But, you should remember that not all of them will add value to your home.