Do Your Homework Before Starting a Home Improvement Project

Home improvement is one of the best ways to upgrade your house, make it more comfortable and even increase its value if you plan to sell. But it’s important to do your homework before diving into a project. Choosing the right contractor and materials are crucial for getting the most bang for your buck.

In addition to refinishing hardwood floors or adding new cabinets, a few key upgrades are worth the investment: a smart thermostat (which can adjust energy use depending on the current gas or electricity price), a water heater replacement and a basement renovation. Also consider energy-efficient windows, insulation and appliances.

Other projects likely to add a bit of value include a hot tub or fountain for the backyard and a deck construction. A few things to keep in mind:

Keep your home insurance up to date as you make changes. If you have an old policy, it may not cover the new value of your home. Also, avoid putting yourself in debt. Renovating your house is an expensive undertaking, and you’ll pay thousands in interest to boot.

Having a professional help you with any work will ensure it’s done properly and to code. However, it’s a good idea to get multiple bids, and to compare contractors on more than just price. Check the contractor’s credentials, such as whether they are licensed and insured, and ask for references. Some aggregators do this for you, but if you choose to find the contractor yourself, be sure to do your homework.

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