A Single Mom’s Guide To Home Improvement

When I bought my house nine years ago, my son was about to turn three and I reveled in the security of owning my slice of the American dream. Being a single mom was (and is!) both challenging and rewarding, but I knew that having a house to call my own was the best thing that ever happened to my son and me.

My house was ten years old when I bought it, and it was in excellent condition. Still, as time passed, a variety of issues cropped up. I think my way of handling (or not handling) home improvements is fairly typical for single women who own their own homes. Hopefully, my experiences will help you navigate the waters of home improvement. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. You can go places with a good book and a toolbox. The Christmas of the year I moved in, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a toolbox filled with the basics: screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer, nails, nuts and bolts, and so forth. They also gave me a book on basic home repairs. Their gift literally provided me with the tools I needed, but it also gave me confidence that I could tackle minor home improvement projects. My advice: invest in some tools and use a book or online sources to guide you through the routine maintenance that your house requires.

2. Ask for advice. As a single woman who is now 49 years old and has limited knowledge of more complex home improvement issues, I’m always afraid that I’ll be taken advantage by a repair company. When my air conditioner conked out on a 100-plus degree day, for example, I had no way of knowing if I really needed a new unit. I’ve learned to call on neighbors, family members, and friends – whose collective knowledge exceeds mine – to get their impressions. They’ve steered me in the right direction on a number of occasions.

3. Keep tabs on the neighbors. All of the houses in my immediate vicinity were built by the same builder at roughly the same time. Getting to know my neighbors and talking to them about home improvement has helped me get a sense of what to plan for. For example, two years ago I began to see that the houses around me were starting to get new roofs. Although I didn’t have a leaky roof, a few months ago I decided to re-roof. I wanted to be proactive so I didn’t get stuck with the expense of drywall repairs in addition to the cost of a new roof.

4. Ask for referrals, and then check them yourself. Through my neighbors’ referrals, I’ve been able to find a superb roofer, an impeccable exterior house painter, and a terrific tile guy. But I don’t just rely on their word. I always – repeat, always – check with my state’s contractor licensing board to verify their licenses and with the Better Business Bureau to check on past complaints. I get all estimates in writing, and ask for proof of insurance.

5. Don’t put your head in the sand. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve chosen not to deal with a home improvement issue, and I’ve always regretted it. I knew, for example, that the exterior of my fireplace had some dry rot. Unfortunately, by letting it go for so long it cost me much more than if I would have dealt with it immediately.

6. Make a list. This last bit of advice is basic, but critical. Start and keep a home improvement list. As a single mom, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of daily life and let routine home maintenance fall by the wayside. I divide my home improvement list into three sections: one for items that need attention in the next three months; one for home improvement projects for the coming year; and one that maps out what I want to accomplish with the house over the next five years. The short- and medium-term lists keep me motivated, while my long-term list helps me save the money needed for the big-ticket items.

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Getting The Right People For Home Improvement

We think of home improvement for varied reasons. Some are forced to do it to accommodate a growing family while others are for functionality. Whatever our reasons are, it is important to have it done the right way. There are several things to consider in planning for home improvement and this include the budget and getting the right people for the job. Getting the right contractor for the job is one task that a homeowner should seriously consider. Vista Remodeling LLC is perfect for the job. The company has been in the business for years and has considerable experience and expertise for any home improvement. It’s passion to deliver only the best for its clients has earned him a good name in field of home renovation. Satisfied clients have become its most effective endorsers and this has propelled the business to where it is today.

Vista Remodeling started in 1999 in Denver as a home improvement provider for minor remodeling jobs. Today, it has truly come a long way; it is now capable of handling large scale renovation. It offers Kitchen Remodeling, Bathroom Remodeling, Basement Finishing, Granite Counter Top Installation and all Flooring Solutions. They offer free estimate of expenditures and counseling. Vista Remodeling has a mission to give every client a safe and comfortable living environment. Vista Remodeling takes the responsibility even after the completion of the project. They give 12-month warranty on all its finished projects. The following are tips in hiring the right people for your home renovation project.

�In hiring a contractor always choose the one with good tract record and well-established company. Vista Remodeling LLC is more than willing to provide you with names of former client with whom you can interview. You can visit their house and see for yourself the quality of work done by the company.
�You have to understand your payment options. Since this project may get you into getting a loan or a home financing it is just but wise to manage your budget wisely. Vista Remodeling will sit down with you to plan everything from program of work to budget. They will assist you in every way they can and provide you with a contract that is reasonable for your budget. It is a legitimate and licensed home improvement provider so rest assured all transactions will be done the legal manner, and yes, this company offers discounts.
�Protect yourself from Home Improvement Loan Scam. Usually scammers are contractors that go door to door to market their expertise. However, you may get into their trap if you do not know their scheme. Vista Remodeling is a legitimate business operating with in the law. They will never push you into getting loans for any project.
�Have a written contract. It is best to have something in black and white to hold on to. The contract must contain the contractor’s name, address, license number and contact number. With Vista Remodeling you can be sure you are in good hands. They operate in the professional and legal way. They keep their relationship with their clients even beyond the completion of the project. They give 12-month warranty for all their accomplished works and the relationship never actually ends there.

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When Are Home Improvement Loans Necessary?

Some homeowners find it necessary to apply for home improvement loans because they may lack the necessary budget or don’t have enough savings to finance their home improvement project. Even a secured personal loan may serve as a source of home improvement loans.

In the US, it is possible to get home improvement loans either for projects that you hired a contractor for, or for do-it-yourself projects. Some lenders stipulate that their company will be responsible for releasing the checks representing the amount to be paid to the home improvement supplies company or to the contractor. For do-it-yourself projects, the lender may send the check to the home improvement supplies company instead of giving you the money outright.

If you prefer getting a lump sum, you might apply for a home equity loan which means your home will be assessed by the lender for the amount of equity it presently has and the corresponding value of the loan you (and your home) qualify for. A home equity loan is advantageous because the payments are stretched out over a longer pay period. $50,000 loans to remodel your home fall under this category meaning, you will be granted a loan of $50,000 if the lender believes your home has at least that much in home equity left in it. This is a good strategy to pursue if you want to make your home increase in value for the long term, because the loan allows you to make necessary repairs and upgrades of your home. In effect, you can command a better price for your home later on.

If you are trying to get a federal grant, you may want to examine the Title 1 loan offered by the Federal Housing Administration under the Home Mortgage Insurance Division of the Office of Housing of the HUD. Although the HUD does not itself offer home improvement loans, the Federal Housing Administration may help you find a lender who will lend to you (provided the lender is accredited with the HUD.)

Some cities in the US offer a city rehabilitation loan program to homeowners in the low-income wage bracket so that they can undertake home improvement necessary to keep their residence livable. These loans require repayment at low interest rates, though. Check with your city government regarding how long it takes to apply for the loan, and the particulars about how it works. You should also inquire about who gets approved for such loans and where to apply.

Regardless of what loan you get, you may have to get acquainted as well with the process of finding an approved contractor. Some contractors operate without accreditation, since not all homeowners are so particular about who they hire. The advantage with hiring an accredited contractor is that the contractor is required to adhere to certain standards in the way he runs his business, which gives you more peace of mind, knowing that you can always file a complaint against the contractor and his company if he doesn’t do the job right.

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