It's National Home Improvement Month, and to celebrate we'd like to share with you ten things you can do to make your next home remodeling project - no matter how big or small - something you're pleased with in the end, that stays on budget, and causes as little inconvenience or frustrating in the process.

my14h9For three decades we've been helping Minneapolis area homeowners take care of the exterior of their homes, and happy customers are our most popular service.  Whether you choose Quarve or another contractor to handle your next project, we'd like you to be happy, so here are some things you can do to help insure that happens.   And these tips will work whether you're replacing your roof or rewiring your media room.
  • Do your homework - research into what you're planning will pay off.  A good place to start is to investigate property values in your area.  When home improvements add value to a home, you want to make sure what you do keeps your home's value in line with similar projects in your area.  You'll also get a general idea of what things could cost, which will help you plan your budget.  Doing some research into material choices can give you options to discuss with a contractor.
  • Think long-term.  Although many home improvement projects are done to make a home more attractive and/or functional now, plan for down the road.  If you're planning to stay on your home for a long time, are the upgrades you're contemplating now still going to be workable once your children are grown or you've retired?  For older homeowners, consider upgrades that will help you enjoy your retirement years.  For instance, low-maintenance roofing, siding, and windows mean less upkeep and more free time.
  • Set your budget, but be realistic.  After you've done some research into what an average project should cost, you can set a budget.  Include some extra padding for contingencies, unexpected problems, etc.  Be sure to share your numbers with your contractor so that together you can figure out options and materials that will work within that number.  Once you've got your budget established, stick to it and resist the temptation to keep adding on little extras as you go - it's those little add-ons that add up and bust your budget.
  • Research contractor.  There are plenty of resources to help you do this.  Follow up on references, get referrals from friends and neighbors, check trade organizations, etc.  Unless it's a contractor you're familiar with, you'll be trusting a complete stranger with your home, so give yourself some peace of mind up front and find out what you can.
  • Ask questions.  A reputable contractor won't be insulted if you ask about training, certifications, etc.  Find out how they handle unexpected problems and change orders.  Here's a good question:  Tell me about how you resolved the last complaint you had on a project.
At this point you're probably ready to decide on a contractor to handle your project.  The next step is to set up an initial meeting to discuss your plans, find out whether your proposed contractor is available to handle things in your time frame, and make your determination.  The second half of our list relates to what happens from this point on.  We'll handle that in our next post. Quarve Contracting provides full-service exterior home remodeling services such as roofing, siding, and window and door replacement in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area.