The Home Improvement Nightmare-Who’s To Blame and How To Avoid It

Unless you live in a remote part of the country with no television, newspaper or other people to talk to, there is a good chance you have heard or read about a home improvement scam or project gone wrong. It seems to be a fact in this country that when you go about doing a home improvement project you will usually encounter countless problems, delays and shoddy work.

The home improvement experience leaves most people stressed and vowing never to do another project again! So it is not surprising to hear that home improvement complaints rank at the top of consumer complaints nationwide year after year. Where does the blame fall for this epidemic of home improvement problems?

I am proud to say I was a home improvement contractor for almost 30 years and I was fortunate enough to win some of the industry’s highest awards. However, it has never ceased to amaze me the poor home improvement decisions that I have seen so many homeowners make. One of the more notable mistakes I would see done over and over again was when a homeowner would blindly hire someone to do a project because the person was a friend or a friend of a friend. To me this reasoning makes no sense.

Friendship and craftsmanship are not related, but for some reason a lot of people believe other wise. Another great example of homeowner apathy is hiring someone to do a project without ever putting anything in writing. Who in their right mind would ever agree to such a disastrous situation? Another very similar blunder would be for a homeowner to blindly accept an estimate on the back of a business card. Usually the only information that has room on the back of a business card is the PRICE.

A major mistake made by many people doing a home improvement project is letting price dictate the decision on who to hire. More problems occur because homeowners pick the lowest price they can find. Why? It is very simple. You can only produce a high quality project at a certain cost. High quality materials, expert labor, appropriate insurances and a reasonable profit to stay in business, cost a certain amount of money.

If someone can do that same project under that amount, what do you think is going to happen when the job is being done? That’s right, the person or company is going to do anything they can to try and make a profit. All of the possibilities that could result from the person you hired, as the low bidder, trying to make a profit, are simply all BAD for the homeowner. In home improvements you get exactly what you pay for.

Let’s not forget to put some of the blame on people looking to work on your home. Over the years I have seen some of my competitors commit heinous business practices. (Surprise!!) I have seen contractors switch materials to lesser quality without customer approval, use unqualified labor, overcharge homeowners for “unforeseen problems”, try to up sell the customer once the project starts, etc.,etc.,etc…….it makes you wonder if you can trust anyone?

So where does the blame fall for all the home improvement complaints year after year? I guess it would be easy to blame the homeowner for not educating themselves on what to do when attempting a project. However the next question would be where does a homeowner get “educated”? Maybe a better question would be when does a homeowner find the time to get “educated”? Education is a great tool if you have the time to do the research. Most people don’t have the time or want to take the time to do hours and hours of research on how to go about getting a home improvement done correctly.

Oops I almost forgot Uncle Sam. A lot of people, including myself, think the government makes it too easy for someone, who has no ethics or skills, to do home improvement work. Why are there still some states that do not have licensing for people doing home improvements? And in the states that do have licensing, why are some of these states issuing licenses without the applicant needing to demonstrate any type of competence in home improvement work? This is like giving out a driver’s license without taking a road test. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

One last situation to blame, one that I would never forgive myself for not mentioning. Home improvement television shows have become the latest fad in television. You can hardly change television channels without a home improvement program popping up. The influx of home improvement shows on television has been phenomenal. However, most of these shows tend to unrealistically glorify the home improvement project as being easy to do with nothing ever going wrong. The last time I looked, nothing ever goes perfect, including home improvement projects. Little, if any information is mentioned on these shows, about how not to be “taken to the cleaners” when doing a project.

One would have to conclude that there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the problems homeowners face when attempting a home improvement project. Unfortunately, most of these problems have been around for many years and if you are expecting a “quick fix”, I think you might be waiting a very long time.

Since I retired from the home improvement industry two (2) years ago I decided it was time to stop worrying about who or what to blame about the constant wave of home improvement complaints (it really seems to be a waste of energy since nothing seems to change) and to put together a way for homeowners to fight back and get the home improvement results that they deserve.

This is why I founded The Home Improvement Success Club of America (TM). The club’s website, which I hope you will visit, can be found at http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com. This is a one-of-a-kind club that guides homeowners on how to get high quality, problem free, home improvement results.

Membership to this club includes The Home Improvement Success System, a complete how-to home improvement system that details all the steps you need to take to make your project a success. The club membership also includes a web forum to ask questions, phone consultations, monthly newsletters, teleseminars, teleclasses and written evaluations of member estimates and contracts.

This club guarantees to short cut the time homeowners need to learn how to complete any home improvement project. You are shown what to do and what to avoid. All the information that you receive from this club you could spend months trying to find, but by joining this club it is at your finger tips 24/7.

To do a home improvement project correctly you need to follow five (5) steps. These steps are:

1. Define your project based on your needs, finances and structural constraints.

2. Determine who can complete the project.

3. Evaluate perspective candidates (including yourself) who you may want to use to complete the project.

4. Prepare a contract that is “thorough” and protects you from poor home improvement situations.

5. Completing certain tasks when the project is being built.

These five steps seem relatively easy to understand but it’s the “particulars” (exactly what to say and do) of each step where most people fall short. Knowing these “particulars” are what makes or breaks your project. Membership to this club will guide you to completing a home improvement project without all the problems and aggravation that most people go through.

If you are interested in protecting your home from the home improvement nightmare, than visit The Home Improvement Success Club of America Website. Joining this club is the next best thing to getting “Home Improvement Insurance”. All Club memberships come with a 30 day money back guarantee.

By Hank Jaworowski, CR
Founder and President of The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com
e-mail:[email protected]
631-360-7722

Inexpensive Home Improvement Tips

Like all other essential elements our home also requires constant maintenance to stand strong against any sort of internal and external damage. Our home is precious; it also undergoes regular wear and tear. So it becomes inevitable for us to spend certain amount of time and money in regular home improvement. Often it becomes difficult for us to bear such expenses because of financial instability.

The price of every home accessory is increasing day by day which is making even the simple maintenance issue difficult to afford. Home Maintenance generally depends on how we view our home. It is important to consider its importance to understand its positive side.

Benefits of Home Improvement

1. It increases the property value
2. It lower the long term cost of home maintenance
3. It helps to estimate the monthly or yearly cost of home repair
4. It helps to upgrade the home interior
5. It delays the depreciation rate of the home accessories and increases their longevity

Choosing the right material during the primary home furnishing or home renovation is essential. We generally don’t consider the cost of maintenance and repair while purchasing home accessories of the first time but it is vital to cut down cost in the future.

With the help of few simple tricks and referring proper home improvement guide, these following benefits can be easily made affordable. It is important to collect relevant information and stay up-to-date with the various products available in the market in this section.

Here is few simple steps that can be followed

Few Home Maintenance tips within budget

1. Use fiber- cement instead of vinyl or aluminum to upgrade siding
2. Do regular inspection of equipments that requires regular maintenance to change them on time to avoid the cost of further damages
3. Follow proper procedure to keep the home items neat and clean
4. Use neutral color to paint the walls
5. Collect information,compare the cost to choose the best price
6. Choose eco- friendly items
7. Keep a toolbox at home to do the basic repair work yourself

Consulting an expert can also help to follow an affordable way to carry on home improvement.

Your Home Improvements – How to Quickly Get Them Costed

When you are thinking about a home improvement project one of the first questions asked is, “how much is it all going to cost?” By using some on-line tools you can get a ‘ball park’ figure to give a rough idea of how much you have to budget for. All on-line cost calculators should be treated with caution as they can only give a very rough idea of the cost. You would need a builder and possibly other trades to come and give quotes.

When asking for quotes it’s a good idea to at least have quotes from 2 or 3 different builders or the appropriate trades. In the same spirit, this guide allows you to get your rough guide from 3 different renovation cost calculators. Each calculator approaches it differently and asks for varying degrees of information from you. However, as many of these online tools point out, they are not meant to replace someone coming and reviewing the work needing doing and giving a specific quote.

When preparing for these cost calculators and especially when you prepare for getting quotes it is best to write down as much detail as possible to explain what you want, so you can give the same specification to all the contractors quoting, with the intention that you can then compare the quotes. You can ask yourself; how many rooms are involved, total floor area, are the electrics needing re-wiring, how many plugs and sockets are required? Do you know what bathroom suite you want and the kitchen units, then include those costs as well. All this detail can be included in the list of work needing to be quoted for. This is all useful to help you manage the builders and various trades and so help you to manage costs so you don’t overrun on your budget. It’s always a good idea to have a contingency of around 20%, as once floorboards are lifted, rewiring started, old fixtures and fittings taken out then you can discover previously unknown problems.

Before starting any home improvements and getting quotes you should check building regulations and whether planning permission is needed. Check whether your tradesmen are registered with their respective trade body, eg National Federation of Builders.

Use the on-line tools:

http://www.builderstown.co.uk/prices

Builderstown is perhaps the simplest to use. Here there is a menu like list of various renovation projects. It can give costs for various plumbing jobs, eg you tell it how many radiators you want. You can enter how many kitchens and bathrooms you are wanting to renovate, the total wall area for plastering, you indicate the number of new plug sockets, lights, switches. You enter the floor area for it to calculate the cost of a new floor… Press Calculate and it gives a figure. They are London based builders.

http://www.ukbrs.com/renovation_cost_calculator.html

BRS’s cost calculator approach is to ask you to enter the overall floor area of what is needing renovating and to indicate whether it is a single storey and second storey or loft area. It takes you to another page to enter details of how many bathrooms, bedrooms living rooms etc, that you are wanting a quote for, and also what type of finish you are looking for. Then it gives a quote and an option to request a site survey. It does ask for a £30 fee for the site survey, which they say is deducted from the final invoice. They are based in London area and only serve the Greater London area.

There is another approach adopted by Checkyourprice.co.uk. This site gives you an idea of the labour costs involved in your home improvement job. It gives figures for the average labour cost for a list of different renovation projects, eg bathrooms. So it itemises costs to fit and plumb in a wash basin, cost to fit and plumb in a WC and cisterns, cost for a standard shower, electric shower and power shower. It includes other categories of typical renovation/home improvement projects, eg building work, carpentry, kitchen, bedrooms, window installations, electrical work. To work out a total overall cost you would have to include the cost of the various parts and fixtures.

One good feature with all of them is that you can quickly see the effect of altering the extent of your renovation and seeing the effect on the overall cost. Quick and easy.

Home Improvement Guide: Maintaining Your Garage Door

Maintaining your garage doors is essential to ensure that you have a safe, effective and operating system and to prevent any type of accidents that may occur. Maintaining your door should be done every quarter especially if you have an electric door opener. Most homeowners forget to lubricate their doors causing wear and tear to happen as well as scraping or binding problems. Loose bolts may also occur for wooden doors as well.

Maintaining your Garage Door

Homeowners who own metal garage doors would require minimal maintenance; however, one should follow cleaning guidelines to ensure that the door’s protective coating will last for several years. More often than not, using basic cleaning ingredients such as soap and plain water can ensure that the door is free from dirt and any mildew that accumulates over time. It is important that one does not use any strong type of cleaning ingredient as this would damage the metal surface. In case one needs to repaint their metal doors, it is necessary to apply mineral spirit to the surface to remove any waxes. An excellent primer is also needed to ensure that the paint will adhere to the surface.

For automatic garage opener owners, testing the system monthly ensures that the whole system works perfectly and prevents any problem from occurring. One of the best ways to ensure smoothness of operation is via the reversal test. Since 1993, the federal law requires all garage door openers to have the reversal feature as well as a “photo eye” to ensure that one is not trapped inside the garage.

To conduct the reversal test, homeowners should first ensure that the door is balanced and if it is, they should continue with the rest of the steps. Put an obstruction piece under the door and push the transmitter to close the door. The door should reverse upon hitting the obstruction piece and if not, homeowners should call a professional technician to check and repair the garage door.

Aside from the balance of the door, one should also check the high tension springs, brackets or cables to ensure that all are in tiptop condition. Lubricating the springs with pre-approved lubricants will make sure that the springs stay in good condition and prevent any wear and tear for a long time. It is also important to check the door manual especially as some doors may have other features that others do not which need additional care.