Most homeowners want to put their own personal touches on their new home. When I first purchased a condo, I wanted to change everything and anything to make it my own (you can read more about it with the link provided). I didn’t really think about the fact that I would use two of the rooms to rent out to college students and eventually rent the whole condo out after two years.
If you are anything like me, you may want to update paint, carpets, kitchens, and baths. I know John did some fireplace remodeling on his recent purcahse. Unfortunately, though, home improvement problems are now the fastest growing category of consumer complaints. I don’t know about John, but the work I had done wasn’t the quality I expected and even though at the time the job looked great, problems arose especially with the plumbing in the bathroom.
Home improvement complaints often relate to inferior work or work paid for but not completed. Complaints on household items usually involve defective materials and refund policies. Hence the importance of saving all reciepts and all warranty information for your appliances.
Here are some suggestions to make sure you get your money’s worth when remodeling:
- Get at least three bids from contractors or other professionals. Having more than one estimate will help you get a sense of the costs. Having just one bid may put you out on the sidewalk permanently! (In other words, they make take advantage of you for not doing your homework.
- Check that anyone doing home improvement work is licensed and registered. Having someone with a license will give you the peace of mind that there is someone experienced doing your remodeling. Often times, being registered correlates to customer satisfaction and reliability (although not always the case).
- Get everything in writing. Always purchase household goods from reputable, well-established stores and outlets.
- If you have experience doing minor do-it-yourself work, then I would recommend doing some of your own work. Although I would be extremely careful here, labor often adds up to about half (or more) of a project’s cost, you can often save a lot of money by reducing the labor factor. Just be really careful and aware that this can be a big job, and you can’t always do it cheaper than a pro. Remember that your time has a value, and you may pay more for materials and if something goes wrong with your do-it-yourself job, then calling in the pros may add to the total costs.
- Save your receipts and warranty information. This will come in very handy. As we are approaching the tax deadline, many of these upgrades can be written off, especially if you own a rental property. Also, saving your reciepts can help when returning materials, claiming rebates or having to use a product’s warranty.
The last point brings me to reminding you about getting your taxes done asap. The deadline is quickly approaching in the US and falls this year on April 17th. If you haven’t done so yet, you have a few options. First, you can file with your accountant this week. Second, if you can not organize everything by April 17th, you can file for an extension by calling your accountant or visiting your local H&R Block. But even easier than those two options, you can file your taxes yourself online.
Both John and I have filed online and saved us a lot of time and money. If you take the online route, these are some of the best options:
- EasyTaxReturns dot com – Save 30% by using this code: 8JS5LSYDUEG7J9W and get a FREE e-File.
- TaxBrain Online Tax Service – Get your money in 24 hours. Free To Try.
Sponsored by: Flat Pac Kitchen