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The decision to follow through with a home improvement project is often a difficult one.  Recently, during a group discussion between family and friends, I uncovered that there were more than a few reasons why we might shy away from beginning projects to improve our home.  An interesting debate began where I asked everyone to give me a reason why they wouldn’t take on a new home improvement project.  My role was to overcome whatever reservations they might have and convince each person that they could, in fact, succeed with home improvements they would like done.  A laundry list of reasons quickly brewed to the surface about why they didn’t decide to follow through with their projects. I decided to highlight a few of the many reasons and also provide some solutions.  Perhaps if you too have found yourself in this predicament, you will discover new hope in the information I’ve provided.

Where would I even begin?

When you have several projects on your list and can’t seem to make a decision on where to start you should consider two very important things.  You should determine which project (1) has the biggest impact on your quality of home life for your family and (2) has the largest return on your investment.  Now the toughest part is over and you can focus on the steps necessary to get your project moving forward.  Be sure to take time to determine what help you will require, funding needs, and an adequate timeline.  Half the battle is over – you’re on your way!

I don’t have the “know how” or experience to do it on my own.

The internet is loaded with blogs, articles, and other resources which concentrate on education about home improvement and various DIY projects.  There are even “how to” videos explaining what tools you need, accompanied with step by step procedures to complete most projects you might want to tackle on your own.

There are also many seminars, classes, and even free workshops provided by experts.  You can find schedules and classes available in your area online. The Home Depot has its own page dedicated to finding free workshops for do-it-yourselfers, while places like Lowe’s provide a how to library which can prove to be very helpful.  These resources can help you gain the confidence you need to take that final step.

It’s just too expensive!

Too often we fall victim to the thought that something is too expensive for us to have or enjoy.  The same hurdle exists for many people interested in home improvement projects.  The interesting thing is that the thriving home improvement industry has encouraged more and more growth in the number of retail stores, companies, and contractors available, which in turn brings competition for your business.  This allows for multiple options for experienced contractors, and creates a platform for a bidding system between them that can help drive down costs.  If you are doing the project on your own and need materials, you have multiple stores to choose from often running sales and specials to earn your business.  With a little bit of patience and some homework you can find the things you need at a price point which is comfortable for you.

Increased options in financing have also become available in recent years. More and more lenders are specializing in home improvement lending and offer various terms to accommodate your needs.  There are also government loans and grants available for home renovations and repairs that can be of help.

I’ve heard horror stories dealing with contractors – how do I find the right one?

Finding the right contractor for the job can be easier than you might think if you use care and caution. There are some key questions to ask when selecting the right pro for your project.  Make sure they are licensed, and to confirm you can check with your state’s contractors’ licensing board.  Make sure they have been in business for several years.  Ask the contractor for a work schedule for your project and make sure they stick to it early on.  Ask for and check all credentials and also require that they carry workers compensation insurance.  Finally, ask for multiple references so you can confirm past work they have completed.

I’m not sure we’re going to be in this house for much longer.

Depending on the type of project you are considering, most improvements can help increase the value of your home.  Whether you are planning to stay for years to come or pondering moving somewhere new, an improvement project can be very beneficial to your home’s worth.   Kitchen remodels and additions, for example, can have a drastic effect on the valuation of your home. Comparing homes in your area that would be similar to yours once the home improvement project is complete is a good place to start to gauge what an improvement might do for you.  In the future, should you choose to sell your home, you can likely get a return on your investment with the higher sales price.

As these questions and answers demonstrate, with a little bit of research and patience, you can navigate through the decision to move forward with your home improvement projects.   You simply need the confidence to move forward and take that first step.  Soon you’ll be checking things off your list!  And before you know it, you will be enjoying the spoils of your newly completed home improvement.