Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can't fix it if you don't know it's broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home's value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
Inspect prior work. When you talk to potential contractors, ask them for examples of work they have done that is similar to what you want. Find out if it is possible to contact previous clients and to inspect the work that was done for them. You will also want to ask the client if the project was finished on time, if they were satisfied with the work, and if there were any unexpected costs added during the project.

As mentioned earlier effective planning is the key to effective renovation. If you are renovating yourself then you need to focus on both the bigger picture and the smaller parts. You might have heard the phrase “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, you can apply the same strategy to your home renovation project and devise a renovation plan for each area in your house. If you hire an architect for renovation, he will assess your requirements and then renovate accordingly. In this case since you’re in charge, you will brainstorm your requirements, write your end goal for each space in the house and decide the overall goal, and then move on to:

That’s a great point to design with the future in mind, especially for people who are looking to put their home up for sale within the next few years. We are actually doing a renovation so that our home will be worth more when we sell, so that tip is for us. I think we might try consulting with a bathroom remodel specialist because they would know what trends are here to stay for the next few years—at least long enough for us to sell our home. Thanks for the info!


Dear Debbie: Tipping isn’t the standard in the home services trades, as it is in the restaurant and personal grooming trades. Still, it’s a question many homeowners wrestle with. To help answer it, Angie’s List recently polled nearly 5,000 home service professionals across the nation to find out if they expect a tip and if so, what they tend to collect.


The first impression of your house is your door. If you are unable to change the door completely and if your existing door is in a good condition then you should repaint your door. Your doors could also affect the lighting of your room, and you could benefit from this great technique interior designed Amy Lau uses, “When dealing with a dark room, whatever color is used on the walls, I paint the ceiling, trim, and doors the same color but 50 percent lighter. Too much of one shade can overpower a space.” So, when renovating on a budget if you are repainting your door try to use different shades according to the concentration of light in your house to optimize the lighting of your house the way you want to.
Traditionally, the bathroom is comprised of a variety of key components, such as the toilet, sink, shower, and tub. In other words, the bathroom is one of the easiest places in your home to break down into bits and pieces. This makes for an ideal DIY opportunity – you can tackle the projects you’re most comfortable with, which ultimately cuts down on your bathroom remodel cost, and then you can leave the other parts to a professional.

The vanity could very well be the largest piece of “furniture” in your bathroom. As such, you have a prime opportunity to show off your style with a vanity makeover! In a DIY bathroom remodel, you may not feel completely comfortable with replacing the vanity altogether…or you might. But if you don’t, there are still some great ways that you, yourself, can take your bathroom vanity from drab to fab.
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