Home maintenance, repair projects, and improvement upgrades are tasks that are undertaken to maintain the integrity of your home while also increasing its market value. These projects include roofing maintenance or upgrades, exterior painting, electrical system review, and kitchen and bathroom remodeling. It is important to keep these tasks in mind no matter how long you plan to stay in your home.
While there is a world of information available on the internet, a great deal of it is sales-biased. This information is sometimes out of perspective, less than accurate, not trustworthy, and seldom is it even in the best interests of the home owner experiencing the problem.
In our knowledge as craftsmen, renovators, and home inspectors, we have routinely encountered instances where people have simply been misled and fleeced by unscrupulous contractors and salesmen. Whenever a home owner is going to spend significant money for repairs or upgrades, it is imperative that they clearly understand the problem, obtain a proper diagnosis, and know the pros and cons of the various recommended remedies.
When there is a substantial job to be done around the house, the average home owner depends upon contractors to explain what needs to be done, what steps it takes to perform the work, and how much it will cost. Ask any home owner who has had a major repair/replacement issue about the information received from the various contractors with whom they spoke and you will hear exasperation. Prior experience has shown that little of the information is consistent and much of it proves to be self-serving to the contractor or salesman.
Under the best of circumstances, your home improvement project will be cost effective and add usefulness and value to your home. All too often however, the project cost inflates to exorbitant levels, the quality of work is sub-par, the project takes longer than expected, and you end up bitterly disappointed with the results. Consumer affairs offices have perennially reported home improvements as the top consumer complaint. It has become routine for contractors to accept a job, take a sizable down payment and are never seen again. Good luck on getting your money back or finding satisfaction via the courts.
Many contractors have the paperwork to show insurance but neglect to have a useful policy in effect. If one of their workmen or subcontractors gets hurt on the job, you can expect to be sued and forced to pay. It’s always shocking when the project is completed, the contractor has been paid, and then material suppliers and sub-contractors sue you because they haven’t been paid. More than a few home owners end up paying for the project twice.
Imagine this scenario: everything looks great and you are happy with your completed remodel UNTIL the local building office wants to see your permits for work performed then insist you tear out finish materials so that their inspection process can take place. Those expenses are on you. And by the way, your insurance company decides to cancel your policy.
A kitchen fire occurs and you expect great inconvenience getting it back together. When your insurance company refuses to pay because of work done without building permits you sink to a much lower level. “Oops” again… Your contractor tears out walls and flooring without regard to lead paint or asbestos containing materials and trashes the material you know not where. Local environmental enforcers show up and hand you some paperwork which has high expense written all over it.
As a home owner you will always be better served when you do your “homework” and obtain all of this information before contacting any contractors. This site will provide you with the content and direction to perform your research to better prepare you for your talks and negotiations with contractors.