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.

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Effective Home Improvement Ideas and Tricks

Why the need for tricks? Well, some jobs are known to be intimidating, and downright scary. One perfect example is redoing or improving the home. The costs alone are enough to turn over to the other side of the bed, cover our heads with our pillows, and go to sleep. Then we may also have to contemplate a “not-so-great” job with it, the neighbors starting to sense something awkward, and we will be left alone to live with it. The good news is we can always do something about it. All we need are simple tricks and home improvement ideas so we can get around these concerns.

Remodeling can become an inexpensive activity that is capable of changing or improving the living conditions inside your home. Aside from that, it can also increase the livable spaces within, thereby giving you more options on what you may want to add in it. All these are possible with simple home improvement ideas. Focusing your attention on your house’s exterior is a good start. The exterior can give neighbors that impression that things are much better inside. Simple activities like putting fresh paint can do just that.

Modern times call for so many home improvement ideas. But it would be much better if you can introduce the element of affordability in it. Low-cost improvements will not only improve our homes, but it also saves you money in the long run. And this is what really matters these days, given the hardships we are in. Here are some of these great ideas.

• Introducing “Green” technology – Because everyone is now realizing the importance of taking care of our environment and this great big home that we are living in, having green technology inside your home is a trick that sets the tone for your home improvement ideas. You can put together solar panels, environment-friendly cleaners, efficient cooling and heating systems, and of course, the very dependable energy-saving light bulbs. Some of these may seem too heavy for your budget right now, but it sure will carry you in the long run. Generating your own electricity is very efficient and cost-effective; however you may want to look at it.

• Redecorating and painting your home’s living spaces – These are very simple tricks that can do so much to beautify your home. And it really works! Introducing fresh new paints to the rooms using cool and soothing colors plus the accents helps in creating a more relaxed atmosphere, making you and the rest of your family want to stay home more often.

• All effective ideas to improve your home must come in complete packages. And your home improvement activities will never be successful if you are unable to address more serious concerns, like maintenance issues, or re-insulating all corners of your home. A well-insulated home will help you save money on electric bills. You won’t need to worry about cool air leaking out during summers, or warm air during winters.

There are many more home improvement ideas and simple tricks to help you in your cause. Costs should not hinder you from improving the comfort and living space inside your home.

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Popular Home Improvements

Many home owners have been showing so much interest in improving their homes in the last few years. Most of them have already executed varying improvement projects for their homes and have been appreciating the results of this fruitful undertaking. Home improvement not only helps in raising the value of a home but also brings out a better and more attractive look for the home. This makes the owners feel more comfortable and confident with the place.

There are varying home improvement ideas that are available and ready for execution. The size and design of your house matters a lot and this can actually hinder you from applying some of the ideas. Within those varying ideas, there are a number of them that can be applied in most homes because of their usefulness and ease of design. They are the popular home improvements. The list below shows those improvements and can be used as a guide for choosing the best home improvements to go with.

1. Upgrading bathrooms and kitchens

With the increasing rise in technology, many bathroom and kitchen appliances are continuously being developed. Some of the appliances are oh so useful and economical. This makes them require a certain setup that cannot be accommodated by the old school room designs. This raises the need for a makeover on those places. New and highly attractive bathroom and kitchen designs that raise the value of a home are also coming up at a high rate, and this is making many home owners opt to go with those designs as they are truly elegant.

2. Using boilers

Boilers are highly valued assets that are continuously gaining fame and use because of the benefits they bring to home owners. Acquiring and installing them requires a good sum of money and this forces the value of a home to rise immediately after a boiler is installed. Apart from new installations, people are also replacing their old boilers with new ones that are more expensive and coming from reputable companies.

3. Double glazing

Many homeowners have been replacing their old windows with the double glazed ones due to a number of reasons. Double glazed windows are good at reducing noise and heat transfer. They are also important in improving home security as well as enhancing its value. This makes double glazing an important feature for homes and has thus been gaining a great acceptance and application by the people.

4. Home garden makeover

A home garden is an important part of the home’s face. Having a decent garden helps in creating a better image of the home and in turn raises its value. The home also becomes more attractive and this is something that every home owner wants. Being an easier and more economical way of improving the overall homestead, garden makeover is a very useful step and has thus been considered to be part of the popular home improvements that have been trending.

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Tips to Make Home Improvements Affordable

If you are like many homeowners, your house is among the most significant investments that you own. In addition to being your largest asset, it is the place where you live, entertain and more. By keeping your home well-maintained and making improvements as needed, you can easily maintain or improve its value while also enjoying increased pride of ownership. However, many home improvement projects can be costly, and you may be looking for a way to make improvements to your home more affordable. By following a few key tips, you can enjoy the benefits associated with improving your home without paying more than necessary for those improvements.

Affordable Materials and Equipment
One of the key factors that contributes to the cost of home improvements pertains to the materials and equipment needed for the project. Many homeowners commonly head down to a local home improvement store to buy the items needed for their projects. While these stores are a convenient source for materials and equipment, they may not be the most affordable source. You can consider looking for used equipment in local online classified listings. In some cities, you may find wholesale materials and supplies stores that offer a great selection of steeply discounted materials. If you must shop at local home improvement stores, be sure to look for sales, coupons and special offers that can save you money.

The Cost of Labor
The other main factor associated with home improvements is the cost of labor. Some homeowners have a real knack for completing home improvement projects. Others, however, may require several attempts at a task before completing it right, and this can result in wasted supplies and materials. If you lack the skills and experience necessary to do the job or are not comfortable with the processes involved, it is best to utilize the services of a contractor. Some specialized contractors will charge you a higher rate than other contractors who may have an equal ability to perform the tasks you need completed. A professional handyman, for example may be a jack-of-all-trades, and he may perform services at a lower rate than a contractor who offers only a specialized skill.

Making home improvements is a necessity if you want to keep your home in great condition and improve its value more significantly over time. By keeping the costs of your improvements low, you can enjoy a greater return on your home improvement project. These tips can help you to save money on your projects for years to come.

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Home Improvement Loans – Transforming Brick and Mortar

There is no courage in living an existence where you are constantly dissatisfied. Accepting your current resident as package you can’t exchange is a myth. On the contrary it is true that not everyone has available money to finance home improvement. Home improvement loans enable every resident to own and construct the house that is home in the real sense of the term.

While looking for Home improvement loans the first thing you concentrate on is interest rates. Borrowers must look for low fixed interest rates. The advertised rates may or may not be low rates for your profile. You will learn that interest rates are a personalized concept. Interest rates for home improvement loans are primarily dependent on whether you offer a security for the loan or not.

Consequently, home improvement loans are either secured or unsecured. Secured entail collateral. On the other hand unsecured home improvement loans get approved without security. Both loan types come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Secured loans for home improvement is ideal for raising large amounts (£25,000-£75,000 or above) at low interest rates and flexible terms. Home improvement loans that are secured come with downside of losing your property in case of failure in repayment.

Unsecured home improvement loans will be best for small amounts. There is no obvious downside except that your credit ratings will suffer if you cannot repay. However, the lender can get back his money through legal process which will ultimately put your property under risk. Why get into such complications – just payback the loan!

No matter what you apply for first take account of the cost. Make a list of all the material required for home improvement and their cost. This will help you in assessing the loan amount you should be applying for. The contractor is paid the money for home improvement and then the lender takes to which the borrower makes monthly installments.

It is going to be worth it to spend time in searching for home improvement loans. Your effort will be rewarded in the form of better interest rates and terms. Use considerable time of your search in home improvement loans comparison. You can use home improvement loan calculator to calculate monthly installments. You fill in few of your details, your income, the amount required and there you get a quote which gives the approximate cost of home improvement loans for you. The quote for is free on most of the sites. Your information remains confidential with no obligation to apply. Use APR while comparing loans. This is because annual percentage rate or APR takes into account closing costs, origination points, discount points and insurance. That is ideally the way to compare home improvement loans.

Don’t mistake home improvement loans for long term loans. Try to wind up home improvement loans within 5-10 years. A 30 year mortgage for home improvement is not advisable. However, if you already have a thirty year mortgage then you can make additional payments and achieve the same result. Does that sound confusing? All that is implied here is weigh your options and find the one that suits you.

And in case you did not know there are home improvement loans for bad credit also. Start from your credit report, know your credit score, shop for options and apply for bad credit home improvement loans. Bad credit home improvement loans will have high interest rates; therefore, think realistically about what you can get.

This year £40 billion pounds is expected to be spend on home improvement. These include simple home repairs and large scale remodeling and major restructuring. Chances are you have caught the home improvement bug. If this is so make improvements that pay off. The loans that you have taken for home improvement should target both adding value to your home and comfort. Invest home improvement loans in enabling them to reach achieve the standard of neighbouring homes. Every home improvement that you opt for should have positive impact.

Do the air conditioning system and the shutters and the conservatory look all the more desirable? Then what are you waiting for? This season go for home improvement loans

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Home Improving while Budgeting

As we all know, budgeting and home improvement does not always go together but this article will give you information that could help improve your home and still save a little money.

Home improvement projects regularly scare people off, because many judge that they will pay thousands of dollars to alter one room, because they do not have the skills to do the job them self. They may also feel that the job is costly because supplies and tools are needed.

To the contrary, home improvement does not have to be costly at all. Of course, if you hire a subcontractor or contractor to do the job, you will pay a fortune, but if you have patience and the ability to read and stick to the directions, then you can renovate an whole room in your home for fewer than a hundred dollars. Of course, you will need to change and correlate materials.

Before starting the procedure of improving your home, you will need to system of funds and a schedule to get started. You will need to ponder various notions when considering and preparing home improvement. For example, do you plan to paint your home? Do you plan to tile your home? Do you want carpet in your home?

Going through the final part of this article, you will see just how important budgeting and home improvement can be done which will help save you money and improve your home.

Asking questions is part of analyzing and preparing for home improvement. One of the best tools to have when considering home improvement is calculating what you like and calculating what you want. When I improve my home the first thing I do is explore my mind searching for favorites and what excites and appeals to me. Thus, when I go to the home improvement warehouses, I already have in my brain what I am ready to purchase, therefore this relaxes my quest to improving my home.

If you are short of funds to improve your home, then setting up a financial plan will help you get what you want as well as put away some cash for a rainy day. You may even think about purchasing equipment and tools for home improvement at the companies that propose lower prices and/or purchases with no payments until a particular date. This notion will give you time to get your home better while putting away the currency to purchase the improvement equipment and tools.

Unfortunately, many people go for another home loan to enhance their home. Receiving loans from lenders regularly lead to debt, and home loans for improvement only leads to paying off your home twice. Thus, elude high interest rates and loan payments and learn to plan your finances to improve your home.

Let me give you a general view of what one area could cost you for repairs. Say you want to paint a specific room in your home. You will need plaster, sealers, primer, paints, paint thinners, scrapers, screwdriver, paint opening (often come with paint purchases), patches, paintbrushes, tray, and so forth. Now you may think this will cost you a lot of money to improve your home, but to the contrary, you are wrong.

The paint and tools will cost you the most, while the other items will be priced less; thus, primer, sealers and plaster be priced around fifteen dollars if you go to the correct store.

Paint thinners, trays, brushes and screwdriver will cost around fifteen dollars if you go to the right store. Thus, the patches should be purchased with a plaster kit, which will salvage you a few pennies. The paint will cost around twenty dollars per can, depending on the kind of paint purchased. Therefore, for around a hundred bucks you could alter a room in your home lacking hiring anybody to do the job providing you stick to the instructions.

What about the bathroom, can you alter the room on a financial plan? It depends on the range of the area, but if you are yearning to tile your bathroom and paint the walls you could get the job done for around a hundred bucks give or take. If you go to the correct home improvement store and know what you are doing, you could remodel a small bathroom or average bathroom for around fifty bucks.

Learning to create a financial plan and prepare for home improvements can help you to remodel your whole home (if the home is in good standings) for a few hundred dollars. Furthermore, completing the work yourself, you will recoup you thousands of dollars.

Having this budget and home improvement information handy will help you a great deal the next time you find yourself in need of it.

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Tips for Home Improvement Home Equity Loan Financing

No one will argue that increasing the value of your home through home improvement projects
is a great idea. However, large home improvement projects can become quite expensive. Home
improvements lighten your wallet and empty your savings account. Careful planning and
thinking about all your financing options is necessary before beginning your home
improvement project. Below are a few tips for home improvement home equity loan financing to
take into consideration.

Home improvement home equity loans are becoming one of the most popular loans when it comes
to home improvement. Because the interest is deductible from your taxes, It’s a viable tool
for borrowing money. Interest rates on home improvement home equity loans are usually lower
than the interest rates of other types of loans. Another good thing about home improvement
home equity loans is that they are fairly easy to get.

Home improvement home equity loans are great loans for home improvement because the project
can greatly increase the appraisal value of your home. This is a loan that is obtained to be
able to get additional investments for use in the future. Home improvement projects such as
bathroom additions, bedrooms and home extensions can increase the value of a house. However,
some home improvement projects don’t really result in increasing the value of the house. The
construction of a swimming pool is one such project.

Take care when getting a home improvement home equity loan. Don’t forget that the collateral
that you are putting up against the loan is your own house. If you can’t make the payments
and make them on time, you could end up losing your home. You borrowed money for the sole
purpose of improving your house and losing your house would be a disastrous situation
indeed.

Many people use home improvement home equity loans for other reasons. The money is sometimes
spent finance other expenses such as vacations or everyday needs. Steady appreciation of
their houses is what people rely on to be able to pay for the debt. If the value of their
house depreciates at the end of any period, they are in huge financial hot water. This is
why home improvement home equity loans should be used for the improvement of your home
because the risks of depreciation are lower.

To avoid being indebted because of home improvement projects, these tips for home
improvement home equity loan financing should be kept in mind. Home improvements are a great
way to increase the value of your house but always use your head when getting home
improvement home equity loans to finance these projects.

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Cheap Online Home Improvement Loan Makes Home Improvements Affordable

A house is no longer just a place where one stays together with the family but has become a symbol of status now. Changes are eminent and are taking place every moment. Everyone wish that their home should look better then that of their neighbor’s. But, what stops one from making changes at home is the lack of adequate funds. Is it the same with you? But, where to get the funds from which can finance your home improvement project.

Monthly income and limited savings are not sufficient to finance the improvements one wish to make in their home. Relatives and friends can be approached to fill in the cash need but are you ready to face the embarrassment. Thanks to cheap online home improvement loan which can work as a perfect solution to your cash need and that too at low cost.

Home improvements that one wishes to make at home varies from one homeowner to another. It can be in the form of a new kitchen, bathroom, loft conversion, window replacement, conservatory or any other change which aim to make it a better place to live.

Even a small home improvement requires huge sum of money. A cheap online home improvement loan is a low rate, low cost, cheap and low interest loan which is a perfect alternative to finance home improvements. This loan can finance the home improvement projects which involve investment ranging from £5,000 to £75,000.

A borrower can borrow the loan from the existing mortgage lender. Mortgage loan are secured loan and are popularly known as home equity loan. A mortgage loan is secured against the home of the borrower. Mortgage lender can offer a cheap online home improvement loan for a larger amount and for longer term. Mortgage loan term ranges between 10 to 25 years.

In case, you want to keep your home away from the risk of repossession, you can borrow an unsecured cheap online home improvement loan. This loan does not involve the lengthy process of evaluating the value of the home which takes place in case of mortgage loan. Unsecured cheap home improvement loan carries a higher rate of interest the reason behind this is, that the loan is not secured against any of your property. Loan providers keep credit score into consideration while lending money to borrowers. Better your credit score more are your chances to get a loan at low interest rate at better terms.

The key feature of cheap online home improvement loan is that it offers the convenience to apply for a home improvement loan at lower cost. Modern lenders or online lenders whatever name you may call them have succeeded in overcoming the shortcomings that existed in borrowing loan from traditional lenders. Traditional lenders have enjoyed the monopoly for a long time and ruled the borrowers by charging high interest rate on the money lent until online lenders made entry in the finance market.

Internet has revolutionized the whole finance market. With the growing competition in the finance market, now a borrower can also have say in determining the loan he wishes to borrow and at what rates. One can access infinite number of online lenders with just a few clicks. It is very easy to apply for an online cheap home improvement loan. You are not even required to call them or have to go to meet them personally. Just fill up a small online loan application form and half of the task is done. The lenders will contact you back with the in-principle loan decision within 24 hours. But, do not leave everything on the lender, you need money, make some efforts so that you can get the best cheap online home improvement loan at lowest cost.

What you need to do is to; collect loan quotes from lenders and compare them on the basis of interest rate, loan term and the fees charged by the lender. A thorough comparison will help you find the perfect online cheap home improvement loan that you have been looking for.

Home improvements, minor or major, aim to make home a better place to live. It can also add value to your home which can help you get a better deal against your home when you wish to sell it. Cheap online home improvement loan is the perfect option which can fund your cash need to undertake home improvement project.

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Home Improvement Tips

Whether you are planning to put your home on the market or make it more comfortable to live in, there is a lot to be gained from making home improvements.

Improvements in your home could involve:

- Repairs of already existing structures,

- Remodeling certain parts of the home to give them a facelift,

- Making additions to your home to improve quality of life,

- Home improvement projects in order to make a house more energy efficient or environment-friendly.

To decide on a home improvement project can seem pretty daunting. But armed with a few handy home improvement tips, you could be well on your way to the ideal home of your dreams. Most of these tips are easy to follow and will make deciding on home improvement projects a breeze for you.

- Before deciding on a home improvement project, you have to decide exactly why you think your home needs it, how much you should be spending on it, and what is the result you would be satisfied with.

- The first home improvements you should consider are repair moves. Attend to any ceiling repair problems, the plumbing job you have been putting off or that attic insulation that has become necessary. This holds true whether you are planning to live in the home yourself, put it on rent, or put the home on sale.

- Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is a smart home improvement move if you are planning to put your home on sale. This increases the value of the home immediately, and if researched properly, can be done with very little investment.

- Home improvement projects that involve remodeling need to be well thought out, so that they do not look out of place in the house. They are usually done to improve lighting, provide more space or glamorize the home. Remodeling a home can also mean an improvement in the atmosphere. For instance, if a kitchen wall is broken down to create an open kitchen, it immediately makes the home more friendly and sociable.

- Making additions to a home like adding a deck, a pool, or an outdoor storage area are usually the result of what the family needs, but could also be excellent selling points if the home goes up for sale some day. Additions to the home should be considered as home improvement projects if there is extra outdoor space which by itself does not improve the value of the home. A good tip for an improvement in the exterior spaces of the home is also to consider the neighborhood and only make changes and additions that would blend in.

- Helping a home improve its energy efficiency is also a great idea for a householder, because not only does it cut down on the electricity and gas bills, it is a great thing to do for the environment. Improvement in the insulation of the home can be a long-term blessing. Investing on a home so that it at least partially harvests solar energy could be another way of improving the home for posterity.

It is obvious that home improvement projects should not be carried out on a whim. It is essential to evaluate why a specific home improvement project is required, and what would be gained from the investment. While home improvements that involve repair increase the comfort in the home and its longevity and are therefore essential, all other sorts of home improvement need to be carefully evaluated before embarking on them.

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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.

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