Let's face it, home projects can be
expensive. You may be tempted to tackle them yourself as
a way to save money. For small projects, that may be a
smart move. You don't have to wait for someone else to
fit your house into their schedule, and you can take
pride in doing the work yourself. Unless you're
particularly handy, however, large home improvement
projects are better left to the pros.
If you're remodeling the kitchen,
ask yourself if you can handle the plumbing, electrical
and carpentry work. And don't forget that you need to
finish it all quickly, because in the meantime you'll be
without a kitchen and eating out can be costly. Keep in
mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time and
you're responsible for obtaining the necessary permits
Hiring people who have experience can
save you money and time, too. For example, these
professionals can help you get a custom look using stock
products, and that can be a significant savings.Getting
something done right--the first time--will give you
value that lasts for years.
Word-of-mouth is a good way to start
looking for home improvement specialists. Check with
friends, business associates and neighbors for
recommendations. Always ask for at least three
references - and check them out.
Check, too, with your local chapter
of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.
You can find the number in the
community services section of your telephone book. Make
sure everyone is in agreement about design, schedule and
Get the details down in writing in a
signed contract. You'd also be wise to check on
professional certifications and state licenses, where
required, and insist that any contractors you hire are
fully insured and bonded.
Contact your town or city Building
Department for information. In particular, make sure
contractors carry workers' compensation insurance so
that if any workers are injured on the job, you won't be
held liable. Ask for a copy of their insurance
certificates. Also make sure that you or the contractor
secure any necessary permits before beginning the work.
Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for