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

Home Improvement And Repair Projects Have Never Been More Popular And Easier To Accomplish

The popularity of HGTV (Home & Garden Television) has created a
thriving market in do-it-yourself home improvement and interior
decorating. All sectors of the home improvement industry have
benefited since HGTV started airing in 1975.

The real estate boom was followed by a home improvement boom.
People would buy a old house and want to redecorate the house
from floor to ceiling. People who had lived in their houses for
a while wanted new kitchen cabinets. The home improvement shows
were an impetus for a massive movement by homeowners to start a
remodeling revolution

The home improvements that people take on include makeovers from
the attic to the basement. They perform functional repairs like
fixing a leaky roof, replacing windows, and adding more room to the
house. Then there are the projects that are just for the
beautification of the home like updating kitchen, remodeling a
master bedroom.

Some people use home improvement as a creative outlet. They paint
and redesign just for the satisfaction of improving their living
space. HGTV has been a large contributor to the home improvement
revival.

HGTV reaches 89 million households every week and over 800,000
nightly prime time viewers. The format of the show has been copied
several times and spin offs like Trading
Spaces, Extreme Makeovers. Viewers sit for hours watching
“Design on a Dime” “Devine Design”, “Landscapers Challenge”.
The home improvement shows just keep coming.

HGTV provides instructions for thousands of home improvement projects.
They provide video clips for everything from garden projects to
constructing a bed. HGTV is the one-stop resource for finding anything
you need for expert help with “doing it yourself” projects.

HGTV makes home improvement look easy and fun. HGTV gives viewers
new ideas and inspires the week end warrior to do some type of home
improvement project. HGTV mission is “to provide ideas, information,
and inspiration for decorating and home improvement”.

The impact that HGTV has on home improvement can be measured in these
statistics.

  • Furniture sales grew by 75%, between Between 1995-2005
  • Sales of home furnishings increased 97% in this same period.
  • These items included soft goods as well, carpets, lamps, area rugs,
    linens, glassware

    People all over the country are decorating their homes to look like
    these superbly beautiful fantasy creations that they view on HGTV.
    If you are not a “do it yourselfer” you can just imagine the way your

    home might look when you go on tours of million dollar home all
    across the country. You see people who look like you making grand
    improvements to shacks that end up looking like your dream home.

    HGTV has had a dramatic impact on the home improvement industry
    because HGTV appeals to the age group of people who have the money
    to pay for major home improvement projects. The demographics of the
    typical HGTV is a female age 35-64 years old. Over 70% of HGTV
    viewers are females.
    That means that the female viewers are encouraging husband, fathers,
    brother to do the work so they can enjoy the benefits.
    The additional general consumer demographics for home improvement by
    female indicate:

  • They shop more often
  • Visit more stores
  • Spend more than the typical shopper
  • The target demographic for the Do It Yourself Website is:

  • Homeowners
  • Ages 25-54
  • Incomes of $60,000
  • Internet access
  • Propensity for home improvement
  • The home Improvement Research Institute studies show that both men
    and women are active participants in the planning of home improvement
    projects as well as the purchase of those products used for
    improvement.

    Secured Loans For Home Improvement – When You Can’t Buy A Luxury Home

    A house is just perfect with chipped walls and broken taps. Is it? If you don’t think so, then home improvement loans is what you should be looking for. Home improvement is the resort for you, if your home is your personal hideout. Home improvement loans can aid you realize this plan. Home improvement usually takes a back seat due to lack of finances. If finances are an impediment, get secured home improvement loans. Secured loans for home improvement are a way of increasing home equity which is one of the most important added benefits. This implies not only your home will be comfortable but also its market cost is increased.

    The thought process while taking loans is almost always diverted towards lower interest rates. Lower interest rates are very often the prime criteria of settling on a loan. But you must know that lower interest rates are not offered to anyone and everyone. The most obvious reason for lower interest rate being offered to you will be the fact that you are the homeowner. Secured home improvement loans are protected on borrower’s property and are dependent on the equity of the property. The property or home acts as the security for the loan and will therefore mean you have to give lower interest rates.

    APR is the one that gives you a general idea of what your secured home improvement loan will cost. Go to the local bank and building society to get a general idea of the loans rates. You can also get an idea of loan rates on Google. Type “home improvement loans comparison” and it will provide you with the best deals immediately. Your loan lender is the one who will give you a good idea about what will be the total cost of repayment. Look out for hidden costs while settling down on secured loans for home improvement.

    The secured home improvement loan rate is usually fixed and would vary from lender to lender. So browsing through the net would perhaps lead you to the better loan rate than the ones you closed on. Interest rates are negotiable for they are quite dependent on individual circumstances. The actual deal on secured loans for home improvement depend upon credit history, salary, age, joint or single application, collateral, amount to be borrowed and length of payback period.

    The loan amount on Secured home improvement loans [http://www.easyfinance4u.com/secured_home_improvement_loans.html] vary according to the property type. A single family house would guarantee maximum £25,000 to £75,000 as loan amount. Don’t take more than you require on a secured home improvement loan. Don’t over improve your home for it might be difficult to recover the cost of improvement if the price tag of your house shows more than other houses in the locality. The loan term on secured loans for home improvement are very easily anywhere between 2 to 25 years.

    Secured loans for home improvement can be made available at the time you are buying the house. This will work very smoothly in case your mortgage and home improvement loan do not overflow your available equity mark. Any kind of big or small improvements can be financed. Secured home improvement loans can be used for repairs, home extensions like, new conservatory, heating system, new kitchen and site improvements.

    A secured loan for home improvement that is less than £25,000 can be called off within a week with no obligation under the 1974 Consumer Credit Act. You can take payment protection to protect your payment against any change of circumstance. If you do not opt for payment protection and find you can’t pay your monthly payments then discuss your situation with your lender. However, a secured home improvement loan does put your property at risk in situation of non repayment.

    Home décor are oft quoted with high rates. This is usually the reason for putting off home improvement. Living in a house that needs repairs is not always a pleasant situation. You can’t be put them off and financial aid required is difficult to unearth. So, home improvement becomes a very irresolute condition. Make home improvement a win-win situation. How? – By taking secured home improvement loans. Chipped walls are falling and broken taps are leaking. They are doing this for a purpose – they want to be repaired. Repair them with secured home improvement loans.

    Home Improvement Tips: Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

    Reasons for A Redo

    Home improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.

    You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.

    Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.

    If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.

    You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.

    Your family has grown and you need more space.

    Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?

    Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.

    And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.

    You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:

    Adding or remodelling a bath

    Improving the kitchen

    Adding a new room

    Landscaping

    Adding a bedroom

    Adding or enclosing a garage.

    If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.

    Home Maintenance versus Home Improvements

    It’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something has broken. Replacing a leaky bathtub may be the first step to a major bath remodeling: since the tub has to be replaced anyway, why not do the whole room?

    While that might be a legitimate reason to remodel, avoid basing your home improvement projects on immediate needs. You’ll be better off if you minimize problems with proper maintenance. Examine every part of your home at least once a year. Check the roof, the plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as become aware of a problem, fix it. Making repairs when you’re first aware of them will help you avoid larger expenses later on. Keep in mind that maintenance does not add to the value of your home. Usually repairs are not improvements; they are necessities.

    Hiring Professionals May Save You Time and Money

    It should go without saying that home projects can be expensive, so you may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. That may be a smart move for small projects. You won’t have to wait for someone to fit your house into their busy schedule, and you can boast about having done the work yourself.

    But unless you’re very versatile, major home improvements are better left to professionals. If you decide to remodel the kitchen and plan to do the work yourself, will you be able to handle the plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work on your own?. And don’t forget that you’ll need to finish it quickly, because you won’t have a kitchen as long as it’s a “work in process” and eating three meals a day in restaurants could get expensive. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time. And you’ll be responsible for getting all the necessary permits and inspections.

    Hiring people who have the required 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.

    To find qualified and dependable home improvement specialists, check with friends, business associates, and neighbours for recommendations. Always get at least three references, and check them out thoroughly. Also check with the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Their numbers can be found in the community services section of your telephone book.

    Once you’ve located the necessary home improvement specialists, make sure everyone is in agreement about the design, the schedule, and the budget, and get the details down in writing in a signed contract.

    It’s also wise to check on professional certifications and licenses, where required, and be certain that the contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded. Your town or city Building Department can provide that information. And it’s very important that you make sure contractors carry workers’ compensation insurance: if workers are injured on the job, you won’t be liable if the contractor is covered. Request copies of their insurance certificates. And make sure that either you or your contractor have gotten any necessary permits before the work begins. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.

    Here’s a quick overview of some of the professionals you may need to work with when you remodel your home:

    Architect: Architects design homes or additions from the foundation to the roof. If your project will require structural changes such as adding or removing walls, or if the design is complex, you will probably need an architect. Since architects may charge an hourly or a flat fee, make sure you get an estimate of the total cost: drawing up the plans for a major remodeling project can take 80 hours or more.

    Contractor: The contractor oversees the home improvement project, including hiring and supervising workers, getting the necessary permits, making sure inspections are done as needed, and providing insurance for work crews. It’s always a good idea to get proposals from one or more reputable contractors, based on the specific details of your project.

    Be sure each contractor bids on exactly the same plan so that you can compare their bids more easily. When you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure the contract specifies that you will pay in stages. You’ll usually pay one third when the contract is signed so that the contractor can buy supplies. The number and timing for making the remaining payments will depend on the size of the project. Do not make the final payment until all the work is successfully completed, inspected, and approved.

    Interior Designers: Interior designers are specialists who will provide advice on furnishings, wall coverings, colors, styles, and more. They help save you time by narrowing your selection, and save money because they usually receive professional discounts from their suppliers. When meeting with an interior designer, be sure to tell them about your personal style and preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, or you may be able to negotiate a flat fee of approximately 25% of the total project cost.