5 TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOME IMPROVEMENT DISASTERS

By Sharon Hurley Hall
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When you're a home owner, you take pride in your home. You want to make the best decisions on home improvement projects, but that can be a daunting process when you consider all of the potential ways things can go wrong. The good news is that many common remodeling mistakes can easily be avoided. Follow this guide to help avoid those home improvement disasters:

1. Make a plan. Many people say that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That's certainly true of home improvement projects. Working out what needs to be done, what's possible in your home, and the best way to achieve the remodel that you want at an acceptable budget is the starting point for any successful home renovation. And once you have a plan, stick to it to stay on track and avoid unforeseen expenses.

2. Call in the experts. It's often tempting to try to save money by doing everything yourself. Sometimes that works, but often that approach can cause bigger problems and cost more down the road if you don't have the right experience to finish the project safely. Some home improvement projects need an expert touch‐such as any project involving structural changes, roof repairs, plumbing, or electrical wiring. If you don't know what you're doing, you can cause serious damage, which can be even more costly to fix than your planned home renovation costs.

3. Do the research. Once you determine that you need to call a professional, it's a smart to verify that they're up for the job. Ideally, you should use licensed contractors who have the appropriate qualifications to meet the specifications of your particular home improvement job. Get quotes from multiple service providers so you'll get the best balance of experience and cost. Do some research to see what projects they have done before and whether the people they worked with are satisfied.

An expert contractor should also know what permits are needed for your renovation and should be happy to get them for you. (If a contractor suggests avoiding the permissions process, that's a red flag.) Also ensure that your contractor has sufficient liability insurance and consider reviewing your own insurance policy to protect yourself in case of accidental injury or property damage while they are working on your property.

4. Be aware of common issues. The more you know, the better prepared you are for a successful home improvement project. That's why it's good to know some of the common areas where things go wrong. The Home Owners Network notes that some common issues can include: electric shock hazards caused by failing to install kitchen and bathroom electrical circuits correctly, insufficient insulation for electrical wiring, and poorly vented plumbing.

5. Educate yourself. Whether you're using a contractor or taking a DIY approach to home improvement, it's best to learn as much as you can before you begin. You can register for classes on home renovation projects of all kinds at local hardware stores and many community centers. Not only will you learn how to do simple renovations, but you will also find out how to keep yourself safe while doing them. Having the right safety equipment and protective wear will help you avoid injury while carrying out your DIY home improvement projects.

Follow these five tips and you will have a better chance of success—and ease of mind—when you decide to renovate your home.

Thinking about starting your own home renovations? The Homeowners Network (HON) is an online service providing homeowners with unparalleled support for their homes. Get professional advice on maintenance and repairs, enjoy exclusive savings at trusted retailers, even have your appliances and electronics monitored for safety recalls. Through Liberty Mutual1, you can receive a 60% membership discount and your first month is only $1.95. Plus you will receive $50 worth of local restaurant coupons every month of your membership.

1 You do not need to be a Liberty Mutual policyholder in order to receive this offer.


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