The Home Improvement Nightmare-Who’s To Blame and How To Avoid It

Unless you live in a remote part of the country with no television, newspaper or other people to talk to, there is a good chance you have heard or read about a home improvement scam or project gone wrong. It seems to be a fact in this country that when you go about doing a home improvement project you will usually encounter countless problems, delays and shoddy work.

The home improvement experience leaves most people stressed and vowing never to do another project again! So it is not surprising to hear that home improvement complaints rank at the top of consumer complaints nationwide year after year. Where does the blame fall for this epidemic of home improvement problems?

I am proud to say I was a home improvement contractor for almost 30 years and I was fortunate enough to win some of the industry’s highest awards. However, it has never ceased to amaze me the poor home improvement decisions that I have seen so many homeowners make. One of the more notable mistakes I would see done over and over again was when a homeowner would blindly hire someone to do a project because the person was a friend or a friend of a friend. To me this reasoning makes no sense.

Friendship and craftsmanship are not related, but for some reason a lot of people believe other wise. Another great example of homeowner apathy is hiring someone to do a project without ever putting anything in writing. Who in their right mind would ever agree to such a disastrous situation? Another very similar blunder would be for a homeowner to blindly accept an estimate on the back of a business card. Usually the only information that has room on the back of a business card is the PRICE.

A major mistake made by many people doing a home improvement project is letting price dictate the decision on who to hire. More problems occur because homeowners pick the lowest price they can find. Why? It is very simple. You can only produce a high quality project at a certain cost. High quality materials, expert labor, appropriate insurances and a reasonable profit to stay in business, cost a certain amount of money.

If someone can do that same project under that amount, what do you think is going to happen when the job is being done? That’s right, the person or company is going to do anything they can to try and make a profit. All of the possibilities that could result from the person you hired, as the low bidder, trying to make a profit, are simply all BAD for the homeowner. In home improvements you get exactly what you pay for.

Let’s not forget to put some of the blame on people looking to work on your home. Over the years I have seen some of my competitors commit heinous business practices. (Surprise!!) I have seen contractors switch materials to lesser quality without customer approval, use unqualified labor, overcharge homeowners for “unforeseen problems”, try to up sell the customer once the project starts, etc.,etc.,etc…….it makes you wonder if you can trust anyone?

So where does the blame fall for all the home improvement complaints year after year? I guess it would be easy to blame the homeowner for not educating themselves on what to do when attempting a project. However the next question would be where does a homeowner get “educated”? Maybe a better question would be when does a homeowner find the time to get “educated”? Education is a great tool if you have the time to do the research. Most people don’t have the time or want to take the time to do hours and hours of research on how to go about getting a home improvement done correctly.

Oops I almost forgot Uncle Sam. A lot of people, including myself, think the government makes it too easy for someone, who has no ethics or skills, to do home improvement work. Why are there still some states that do not have licensing for people doing home improvements? And in the states that do have licensing, why are some of these states issuing licenses without the applicant needing to demonstrate any type of competence in home improvement work? This is like giving out a driver’s license without taking a road test. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

One last situation to blame, one that I would never forgive myself for not mentioning. Home improvement television shows have become the latest fad in television. You can hardly change television channels without a home improvement program popping up. The influx of home improvement shows on television has been phenomenal. However, most of these shows tend to unrealistically glorify the home improvement project as being easy to do with nothing ever going wrong. The last time I looked, nothing ever goes perfect, including home improvement projects. Little, if any information is mentioned on these shows, about how not to be “taken to the cleaners” when doing a project.

One would have to conclude that there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the problems homeowners face when attempting a home improvement project. Unfortunately, most of these problems have been around for many years and if you are expecting a “quick fix”, I think you might be waiting a very long time.

Since I retired from the home improvement industry two (2) years ago I decided it was time to stop worrying about who or what to blame about the constant wave of home improvement complaints (it really seems to be a waste of energy since nothing seems to change) and to put together a way for homeowners to fight back and get the home improvement results that they deserve.

This is why I founded The Home Improvement Success Club of America (TM). The club’s website, which I hope you will visit, can be found at http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com. This is a one-of-a-kind club that guides homeowners on how to get high quality, problem free, home improvement results.

Membership to this club includes The Home Improvement Success System, a complete how-to home improvement system that details all the steps you need to take to make your project a success. The club membership also includes a web forum to ask questions, phone consultations, monthly newsletters, teleseminars, teleclasses and written evaluations of member estimates and contracts.

This club guarantees to short cut the time homeowners need to learn how to complete any home improvement project. You are shown what to do and what to avoid. All the information that you receive from this club you could spend months trying to find, but by joining this club it is at your finger tips 24/7.

To do a home improvement project correctly you need to follow five (5) steps. These steps are:

1. Define your project based on your needs, finances and structural constraints.

2. Determine who can complete the project.

3. Evaluate perspective candidates (including yourself) who you may want to use to complete the project.

4. Prepare a contract that is “thorough” and protects you from poor home improvement situations.

5. Completing certain tasks when the project is being built.

These five steps seem relatively easy to understand but it’s the “particulars” (exactly what to say and do) of each step where most people fall short. Knowing these “particulars” are what makes or breaks your project. Membership to this club will guide you to completing a home improvement project without all the problems and aggravation that most people go through.

If you are interested in protecting your home from the home improvement nightmare, than visit The Home Improvement Success Club of America Website. Joining this club is the next best thing to getting “Home Improvement Insurance”. All Club memberships come with a 30 day money back guarantee.

By Hank Jaworowski, CR
Founder and President of The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com
e-mail:[email protected]
631-360-7722

Five Things You Need Before Do It Yourself Home Improvement

Do it Yourself, or DIY, is an increasingly popular trend in home improvement: it allows you to think outside the tool box. As many people question why they should hire someone else for things they can do themselves, projects are taken on by home owners instead of contractors. While DIY does have its advantages, it also has disadvantages. On the negative side, DIY projects require much more preparation than simply hiring help. The following is a list of five things you need to keep your DIY from being DOA.

A friend with a truck: There is a reason people with trucks sometimes have bumper stickers reading, “No, I will not help you move.” When engaging in any activity that involves carrying loads, a friend with a truck automatically becomes your BFF. Some home improvement jobs might not require hauling large items, but when you begin a project that does, knowing someone with a truck will save you time, money, and any potential damage you might accrue shoving a pile of lumber into your Pinto.

A hardware store with a knowledgeable staff: When it comes to DIY projects, a good hardware store is your Mecca, and a place that will become your second home. Luckily, hardware stores, particularly the bigger chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot, are geared to helping the nonprofessional. Not only are these places staffed with the handiest men and women, but they also hold seminars and have several books and educational materials dedicated to the art of DIY.

A good tool collection: Home improvement projects aren’t ones in which you should skimp: the point is to improve your home, not the opposite. While buying top of the line materials is important, using top of the line tools is as well. It’s hard to do a good job if you are working with tools that don’t. If your tool box is missing essential pieces, filled with very old and dull tools, or is the color pink, upgrade your tool collection before you begin your DIY project.

Patience: Ah, patience: if it could be put in a bottle and sold on store shelves the world would be a much better place. But, alas, patience is something we just have to teach ourselves. DIY home improvement projects have the potential to test patience in anyone. These projects can be frustrating, annoying, and go completely wrong. For this reason, it’s important to remind yourself to take a deep breath, relax and read the instructional manual before you begin. Reading it afterwards just doesn’t seem to have the same affect.

A Permit: Some home improvement projects can begin without a permit. Others, however, require one. Making certain changes to your home that could affect your house’s structure, or affect your neighbor’s happiness (such as putting up a hot pink fence) may require a permit. These requirements can vary by state so before your begin your DIY project check with your local government and make sure your bases (and something else) is covered.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Home Improvement

Spring and summer are the ideal seasons for home improvement, whether you’re just focusing on window replacement or you’re knocking down walls to turn your dining room into a bowling alley – the weather is ideal and it can create a bit of chaotic zeal in homeowners. Sometimes the excitement of the seasonal change as well as the potential change in the home leads to mistakes in the home improvement process. Here are some of the more common mistakes… hopefully with the proper forethought you can avoid them.

Water Cutoffs – Before you start any renovation project in your home, even if you’re using a general contractor, you need to locate the water cutoff in your home as well as at the street level. This is especially true if you’re doing any renovation or improvement on the wet work areas of your home (kitchen, bathroom, etc.) If you know where the cutoff is you can quickly address an issue if disaster strikes.

Minimize Dust and Debris – Homeowners often neglect to consider that renovation and remodeling is messy. If there’s demolition involved of any sort, it’s even more so. Take the time to prep the work area for containment to minimize dust and debris from traveling around your home. Use plastic sheets for floors and hang drapes or screens in the work area. At the end of every work session, go over your area with a shop vac.

Don’t Rush – It might be fun to start swinging a sledge hammer to take down a wall, but don’t rush into any home improvement gig, especially where there’s demolition involved. Informed and careful remodeling is safe remodeling. Shut down electricity, check for load-bearing wall placement, cut water to the demo area, locate studs, pipes and wires, cut investigative holes in walls – make sure you know what you’re getting into when you prep to rearrange the floor plan of your home.

Protect Surfaces – If you have finished surfaces in your home, then mask them off. This includes cabinets, walls, baseboards, flouring, trim, etc. If you have tile work and finished countertops, cover those as well. There’s always the potential for dropped tools, flying debris, sharp debris, spills and other incidents that could mar the surfaces in your home.

Plan Around Plumbing – You might think you’ve got this home improvement gig in the bag but plumbing has a way of being a pain for many homeowners that shoot for DIY projects. Jobs also have a way of expanding suddenly as they deviate from the plans. Make sure you have end-stop fitting caps to close off pipes if you can’t finish in a day. This way you can turn your water back on.

Protect Floors – If you’re remodeling in a space with appliances then you need to protect your floors. Put down carpet or Masonite so that you can roll appliances around easily. Make sure the floor is clean and swept so that debris, dust and dirt can’t scratch the surface while you’re moving items around.