Summer Home Improvements You Should and Should Not Do

Summer may very well be the perfect time to have some home improvement work done. Unless it’s extremely hot, the weather usually won’t prohibit you from going outside and doing some work yourself. Even if you’d rather hire some professionals with years of experience, you’re sure to find good deals everywhere as companies will be competing for your business during that busy time. Since there are a lot of affordable improvements that can be made to your home these days, what it really boils down to is what you can do yourself and what you should hire someone else to do.

In a perfect world, you would just hire other people to do the job for you. They would do it perfectly and charge you a very minimal amount. The reality is that this is hard to attain. It always feels like you’re rolling the dice when you hire other people to do home improvement work for you, and that’s why a lot of people choose to do it themselves. To be fair, there are a lot of things that you can do yourself, and the home improvement stores that seem to be on every corner these days are a testament to that. You can browse through their isles to get an idea of what you could do for your home. In general, the things you can easily do involve cosmetic adjustments and accessory installation. The main cosmetic change involves adding new coats of paint to the walls inside your home. It’s the first thing that people will notice when they enter a room, and a new coat will dramatically improve the impression they’ll get. Accessory installation includes adding such things as new toilets, door knobs, shower heads, and faucets. All of these can easily be installed over a weekend even by those with minimal experience.

Then there is infrastructure work. These kinds of jobs are best left to qualified professionals with years of experience. Although a failed cosmetic adjustment or accessory installation job would have minimal impact, failed infrastructure work can have far-reaching repercussions. For example, if you’re not careful while fixing a leaky pipe under your sink, you could end up flooding your home and causing widespread and expensive structural damage.

Sometimes it’s not only a matter of potentially causing damage. Sometimes it’s a matter of not having the right tools for the job. Take HVAC work for example. You may not cause widespread structural damage if you fail to do it right, but it just may be difficult to do it without experience and the right tools for the job. Installing a new air-conditioning unit isn’t just a matter of plugging it into a power source. It has to be adjusted so that it is operating at maximum efficiency the duct system that it uses has to be up to par as well. It could be difficult to even know where to start with such a job if it’s your first time doing it. That’s why it’s ultimately best left to a team of qualified home improvement professionals who have years of experience under their belts.

5 Tips for Starting a Home Staging Business

With the increase in home sales thanks to the improving economy, there is an increased need for home staging businesses. Real estate agents as well as current homeowners who want to sell their homes quickly have realized the importance of having a professional do the furniture staging. Staging allows the potential homebuyer to see just what the home holds in terms of potential. If you have wanted to get into the home staging business, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Know your market. Each market in the country is a little different. Some places have higher home values than others. Some markets also have different “tastes” if you will – for instance, country cute would seem out of place in New York City. Conversely, the urban cool grey tones of New York would look odd in a country home in North Carolina. A good staging professional will be able to stage a home perfectly for the market.

2. Know the home. Any remodels that were completed should be highlighted when staging. All of that work that was done to improve the house needs to be shown off! Staging can be done with lighting and special furnishings that draw attention to the remodels. This is different than redecorating the home – you are there to enhance the house.

3. Be prepared with knowledge, mainly of what is current in terms of decorating trends. Many people are quite current on trends thanks to the prevalence of home improvement websites and social media sites like Pinterest. There are some classes you can take that will help you keep current. You should also be prepared to know your own limitations – are you able to move the furniture yourself, or will you need to bring in a helper? It also takes knowing your own personality. When you let your skills shine through, that confidence will be irresistible to your clients.

4. Do some research on how to run a business. You are, after all, running your own full business, and while most of your time will be spent doing what you love – staging – you will also have to keep financial records, file any appropriate registration paperwork, and manage the income you will be bringing in. There are community college classes you can take that will help equip you better to handle the nuts and bolts of the business.

5. Be strong. You might have some very opinionated homeowners who will resist your suggestions. Just remember they will be blind to their own decorations and clutter. They need you because you can be unbiased and help them arrange the furniture in the rooms in the most appealing way. Ether the homeowner or his or her agent recognized the need for a home stager to come in and help. They want your designing expertise and ability, whether they admit it or not.

When you get all of the pieces put together and you start your home staging business, you’ll find that you have created a very rewarding company that will be fulfilling for you and of great service to your clients. Best of luck!

How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

When it comes to home construction, there are thousands of general contractors to choose from. The best way to narrow down the reputable contractors from the not-so-reputable ones is to do your research, ask the right questions, demand proof of credentials, and choose a contractor that works specifically in the field you need. For example, if you need roof replacement, choose a licensed roofing contractor rather than a home remodeling contractor. A vague job description can mean they specialize in a wide array of construction projects. Instead, you want a contractor who operates their business with an acute focus on roof repair and replacement.

One of the biggest problems in the home construction industry are contractor scams. It is critical to always beware of sneaky home improvement scams because they are very common. They can easily cost a homeowner thousands of dollars if they fall victim to the dishonesties. Fortunately, anyone can avoid becoming a victim of home improvement scams with the proper knowledge and attitude. Continue reading to learn some important information about identifying these kinds of scams, protecting yourself from false loans, and who to turn to if you have a bad experience with an unethical contractor.

Signs That a Contractor is Trying to Swindle You:

– They knock door-to-door and offer their business.

– They come to your door and offer you discounts for referring other clients.

– They tell you they can give you a deal because they happen to have excess materials leftover from another job.

– They give ultimatums or pressure you into making an immediate decision.

– They only accept cash payments and/or request that you pay all fees upfront.

– They know a lender and recommend that you borrow money from them.

– They tell you to get the required building permits for the work.

– They tell you that your property’s work is going to be a “demonstration.”

– They offer a lifetime warranty or improbable long-term guarantee.

– You cannot find their business number or name listed in any local directories.

Even just one of these signs is an indication that you are not working with a responsible or experienced contractor. Furthermore, you must beware of a similar scam with loans. Home improvement loan cons are just as common and detrimental. This can lead to you unknowingly signing a home equity loan with incredibly high interest rates, points, and fees. And since the contractor has already been paid by this loan, they can lose interest in the work and fail to do a good job; or worse, not complete the work at all.

How to Report a Bad Experience

If you have a bad experience like this with a contractor, first try to work it out with them. After any phone conversations, mail a certified letter to them, and in it, request a receipt. Then keep copies of all records. This paper trail is your record that the company or contractor received your letter. If this does not work, you still have other options.

You can to report them to certain industry organizations, and possibly earn some sort of recompense. This includes the state attorney general, the local consumer protection office, the local home builders association, the local media’s “call for action” lines, and various dispute resolution programs in your town.

Home Based Business Opportunities – What Are Their Advantages?

Starting a home based business enterprise is much rewarding. By starting such an enterprise, the owner of the business has full control of the business and enjoys the benefits of being his/her own boss. A home based business enterprise allows the owner to explore his/her full potentials. Rather than looking for formal employments where you assist someone else to realize his/her dreams, starting a home based business will help you to focus on your own dreams and help you achieve your financial freedom faster.

Turning home based business opportunities into reality may be a daunting task for many as it involves resource mobilization. It starts with the idea generation, which is hard for many. Starting a business opportunity also requires one to work hard. It needs the owner to work extra hours so as to make the idea a reality. Entrepreneurs must also be smart in mind; they employ both mental and physical efforts in the business.

However, the entrepreneurs should be able to foresee the benefits behind the hard tasks as it has more rewards. For a determined entrepreneur, starting home based business enterprise is the easiest. The entrepreneur enjoys cheap labor from family members who he may not pay for sometimes. He can also use the family resources to start the business, which reduces business expenses. The government does not charge tax on home based business enterprises; the business owner is relieved from the cost of commuting, there are flexible working hours and the owner enjoys the satisfaction of being his/her own boss.

Exploring home based business opportunities and turning them into realities creates employment opportunities. This reduces the global problem of unemployment. The jobless citizens come and secure jobs in the business. When employment opportunities are available, people are able to earn a living, which improves their living standards. The employment opportunities created by these businesses also increases the Gross Domestic product of the concerned countries, which finally improves the global economies.

The home based business enterprises lead to development of urban centers. People move to the business enterprises in search of employment opportunities, in the process they interact and socialize. They then start to invest in other business opportunities around the place. The fact that different people from different social backgrounds interact, leads to exchange of business ideas and technologies that are important for economic development. The interaction of various people from different backgrounds also leads to civilization and modernization.

Home based business enterprises provide avenues for the owners to make extra cash. The owner can operate them along other economic activities. This is because the owner can hire cheap services and labor from the family members who he/she can employ to attend to the business while on other duties.

Once a home based business enterprise has been set-up, it can improve its image in the market through the process of affiliate marketing. This is where the business owner for having brought a new customer into the business rewards an individual or customer of the business. Given that most modern businesses operate online, the owner of such businesses can design an ecommerce website for the enterprise to reach many clients and increase the sales volume.