Home improvements can be expensive, so many people look for ways to save money on the project. And while it’s okay to try to save money, there are some areas where cutting corners can be a disaster waiting to happen.
Always have electrical work done by a qualified professional electrician. They will need to be licensed and insured. If you do feel you are qualified to do electrical work yourself, spend a little extra to have the work inspected by a pro. Improper electrical work can cause a fire that can totally destroy your home.
Furnace or Fireplace Repairs
Again, it is important to use a qualified professional to avoid fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Water leaks are a common source of structural damage and unhealthy mold, as well as high water bills. A licensed plumber will be insured, so if they make a mistake, it will be fixed.
In many areas, failing to get the proper permits may result in substantial fines and penalties. Authorities may even demand that you undo the improvement.
Doing Part of the Job Yourself
You may be able to realize some savings by doing some work yourself, but make sure you know EXACTLY what you need to do. For example, if you are removing a wall to build on an addition, make sure it isn’t a load bearing wall. The idea is to make the job easier for your contractor: if you make their job harder, you will end up paying more.
Dumpsters are expensive. But in most locations, you can’t put construction debris out with your regular trash. You may not even be able to haul it to the dump. A dumpster is worth the cost.
Ultra Low Bids
If you put the job up for bid, most of the bids will be in the same price range. An ultra-low bid may be due to using inferior materials, “under-the-table” labor, or failing to meet common requirements, such as bonded employees, errors & omissions insurance, or worker’s compensation. These situations can damage your home or subject you to theft, legal penalties or even lawsuits.
Door-to-Door Scam Artists
Many home improvement frauds are perpetrated by itinerant contractors using inferior materials, high pressure tactics, and low bids to entice unsuspecting homeowners. Always get a second opinion if a contractor approaches you to do immediate “emergency” repairs.
By properly preparing for your home improvement project, you and your contractor can help keep costs in line while still getting a quality job done in a reasonable time frame.