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The first step in any home improvement project is to make a plan. One of the most important steps of a successful do-it-yourself home improvement project is creating a game plan for the job. The home improvement tips outlined below, and in each section of our website and Annual Report, will be useful as you create your blueprint and answer several important questions:
What is the scope of the repair or home improvement project? What is your timeline? What is your budget? Could there be hidden challenges that have not been considered? If so, do you have the financial wherewithal to handle these additional costs? Have you done your homework to identify expert advice and common pitfalls? Does your neighborhood have building codes and restrictions that should be considered? Will you be without essential home areas (bathroom, kitchen, etc.)? If so, what is your contingency plan? Do you have the time and ability to manage the project yourself? Who will be assisting you with improvements and repairs along the way?

Do-It-Yourself Project, or Hire a General Contractor?

If you have the skills and are willing to put forth the effort, you can often save money by managing the home improvement project yourself. Use resources like the home maintenance checklists, be careful to follow the do-it-yourself tips outlined throughout this site, and do your due diligence.

On the other hand, if the scope of your home repair project is significant or your time is limited, it may be helpful to seek outside advice and hire a “Homeowner Approved” contractor to help manage the effort. A general contractor is a construction professional who knows several trades and hires trade specialists, called subcontractors, to handle certain aspects of home improvement, repair, and remodeling jobs–such as electrical, plumbing, etc. The general contractor is responsible for coordinating the work, and for paying the “subs” that have been hired to help. Most states require that a general contractor be licensed or certified, so be sure to get your general contractor’s license number and clarify their credentials.