COVID-19 Update

Home Improvements? Ask Yourself These Questions First.

We have all been spending a lot more time than usual at home over the past few months. For some of us, that means looking around and seeing opportunities to undertake home improvements. Unfortunately, many people are also dealing with reduced income or unemployment as a result of the ongoing pandemic. So, before you hire a contractor or head to the home store for supplies, ask yourself these questions.     Family having fun doing home improvements

Can I Afford It?

First and foremost, you have to be honest with yourself about whether you can afford to undertake any home improvement projects right now. If you have money in savings and don’t need to use the funds for bills and everyday expenses, using it for home improvement projects is fine. Avoid using credit cards to pay for the project, unless you have a concrete plan of action to pay it off quickly to avoid excessive interest charges.

Will it Add Value?

If you’re going to invest in your home, you want it to add to your home’s overall value. Surprisingly, not all home improvements do. A new garage door, kitchen upgrades and adding or upgrading a bathroom all bring a terrific return on investment (ROI). Conversely, adding a swimming pool, high-end landscaping, or wall-to-wall carpeting won’t increase your home’s value. Of course, if you’re not planning on selling soon, choose upgrades based on your own comfort and enjoyment, rather than ROI.

Are There More Affordable Alternatives?

While you may look around and see all the improvements you’d like to make, compile a list of priorities. Then, see if there are less expensive alternatives that will still make a difference to your home’s comfort and beauty. Instead of a full exterior paint job, maybe painting the front door and garage door are enough to spruce things up. Rather than replacing flooring in an entire room, use throw rugs to cover worn areas. Instead of completely redoing your bathroom, install gleaming new faucets and hang pristine new towels. Look around the house to find opportunities to make small changes that feel like major upgrades.

Are You Prepared to Be Inconvenienced?

Any major renovations involve significant noise, dust and disruption to your usual routine. You’d normally be at work when all that happens, but if you’re working from home for the foreseeable future, tolerating the inconvenience will be challenging. It’s better to hold off on the major changes until things get back to normal. Plus, it will give you time to carefully plan and save money to put toward home improvements.

Do You Have the Necessary Skills?

Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking a trip to Home Depot and watching a few YouTube tutorials on their chosen project is all it takes to master DIY home upgrades. For most of us, that’s not the case. Undertaking home improvements you don’t have the skills to complete is not only frustrating, it can end up costing you more in the long run in wasted materials and the money you spend to have a professional fix the mistakes. If something is beyond your skill level, save up the money to hire a professional from the start.

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