The New Rules of Home Improvement

Many homeowners are beginning to recognize the higher standards that are being demanded from home improvement contractors.The new rules of certification, accreditation and independent verification have complemented well the old ways of selecting a contractor so that the two establish a benchmark that bodes well for the professional perception of the industry. It is not a coincident that in 2010 credentialing and training organizations have achieved their highest growth rate in recent years.

I believe that a profound shift is taken place in the home improvement industry. This shift has embraced certification, accreditation and independent verification as the new rules of doing business. As a contractor who has been in the business for many years, for me, this shift means one thing – a chance to increase market share by showcasing a brand that understands and welcomes the new reality. Indeed, homeowners are beginning to demand this higher standard of training and perceived credibility to measure value. And, the surest way to achieve this is by checking for the credential of companies and the skill of their people. Now, besides the old ways of relying chiefly on word-of-mouth recommendation, customers will be able to more independently check for and measure the training and professional underpinning of a company. This is quite a significant development in the home improvement business brought on by dramatic emphasis on energy efficiency improvements in building.

The Federal government and large utility companies have contributed to this by providing tax credits and purchase rebates respectively for energy efficiency improvement initiatives. States have seized on these opportunities and have enacted changes to their building codes to encourage higher efficiency standards in building. The State of Massachusetts for example, has adopted the ‘Stretch Energy Code'” which its cities and towns are using to promote energy efficiency improvement to their building stock. The execution of these strategies create jobs, save money on utility bills and decrease the Carbon output to the environment from buildings. The savviest of small home improvement contractors are using these new rules to improve their companies’ image to portray a well trained professional operation. The majority of the buildings in the nation are in need of some sort of energy efficiency improvement, if we are committed to improving our building stock then the adoption of these new rules are just the start of the revolutionizing of the home improvement industry.

To be clear, the changes that are taking root are a result of the budding Home Performance Improvement industry that is taking shape and which is buttress by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national credentialing and training organization. Indeed, I believe two things, one, this is setting a new benchmark for the professional assessing of the home remodeling industry. Two, brand recognition will be an important criteria in selecting a home improvement company. The companies that recognize this and make the necessary positioning adjustment will be the winners.

All in all, these new rules that are required to operate a professional home performance improvement entity will no doubt usher in a change in the way the home remodeling industry operates generally.

Do It Yourself Home Improvement

Home improvement is one of those terms that covers just about anything. Do it yourself home improvement is the process of renovating, remodeling or making additions to one’s home without the use of a contractor. Do it yourself improvements are often performed to raise the asking price of a house before it is sold. Home remodeling can be a costly affair that necessitates some type of financing, however, do it yourself house improvement can often be achieved quite inexpensively.

Remodeling

Do it yourself improvements can include remodeling of a room, a garden or an entire house. A remodeling project, regardless of the size, requires planning and some major decisions so if you’re not up to d-i-y structural remodeling, consider a smaller project such as building a flowerbed out of railroad ties or stacked flagstones. Another easy remodeling project could be to build a garden pond. These small improvements can make a huge visual impact and improve the overall amenity and living space in your garden.

Do It Yourself Kitchen Renovations

A thoughtfully planned, well decorated kitchen is a sound investment in your home. Obviously, kitchen remodeling can be a major renovation project, however there are many do-it-yourself improvements that can be done in the kitchen. Do-it-yourself kitchen remodeling can encompass kitchen cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances. Upgrading cabinets, fixtures, and sinks in the kitchen can be daunting but can often be tackled by the home handyman, with a bit of expert advice. And, remember, kitchen (and bathroom) remodeling usually brings greater returns than modifying or adding leisure amenities.

Projects

Often a simple remodeling project can make an ordinary room beautiful. Do it yourself home improvement projects can be as simple as a small repair or repainting a room. Another small, or inexpensive project can be replacing the linoleum or carpet. Generally people categorize home improvement projects by the area where the improvement is located. Remember many projects require a permit from local planning authority. You may need to advise your home insurance company know about your renovations.

Flooring

Home improvements can cover adding new flooring such as carpets, tiling, linoleum, wood flooring, or solid hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring is a popular option as a do it yourself home improvement as it is durable, cost effective and easy to install. Vinyl or ceramic tile flooring can cost from $10 dollars to $40 dollars per square yard. Vinyl laminate flooring is ideal for a small budget home improvement job.

Loan

A small do-it-yourself house improvement plan usually does not require financing, however, larger projects often necessitate additional financing, or a house improvement loan. Refinancing refers to paying off the old loans and taking out a new mortgage on your home. The cost of obtaining unsecured loans is comparatively lower than secured loans and an unsecured loan is often advised for small home improvement projects with expenditures of less than $10,000. Secured home improvement loans are usually secured against your home.

Work to a Plan

Remember the old adage, “if you fail to plan you’re planning to fail”? Well, it applies to do it yourself home improvements as much as any other area of life. So take the time to draw up plans and a timetable to achieve your goals. If you find that you need to engage a contractor for any of the remodeling work review the plans and specifications prior to signing any contract. Get formal bids from a short list of three contractors on the same plans and specifications.

Do-it-yourself house improvement is more than just a new coat of paint and can have long term benefits for you and your family. Home improvements are a real investment, producing both a better house in which to live and an increase in the potential resale and value of your home.