Items to Consider When Home Improvements Include a Contractor
For sure, it’s true for the past couple of weeks snow is still falling in parts of the United States and newscasts report hail storms, flooding and tornadoes in other regions; however, this spring many homeowners are considering minor or major home improvement projects. With this in mind, we read with interest an article on Realtor.com that discussed just how many homeowners are contemplating improvements and how much they are willing to invest in these projects.
Realtor.com based much of their report on a survey completed by HomeAdvisor’s TRUECOST Report 2017. We invite you to read (and even print the report) to get good understanding of how Americans approach home improvements. Here are a few highlights:
- Homeowners are spending more on home improvement
- Baby boomers and millennials are leading the charge
- Millennials tend to “do it yourself” (DIY)
- Age of home and length of residence matter
- Home improvement is gaining the most traction in the West and Northeast
May is National Home Improvement Month
As a homeowner, have you been celebrating National Home Improvement Month? We considered that our way to celebrate is to offer you some tips to make your project just that – “your project,” one that you must decide to manage by setting your goals and objectives and consider your critical success factors.
- First and foremost, contact your insurance agent to review your Homeowners Insurance Policy. Verify what coverage you currently have and which coverages you might need while proceeding through your project, and even if you may need to increase your coverage post project to cover the potential increase in home value.
- Create your “wish list” and your “must have list.” This will help you avoid “project scope creep;” thereby avoiding continuous changes that will add to uncontrolled project growth and expenses.
- Set your budget. Consider whether you will use savings or some of your home’s equity. If you are using a home equity loan or line of credit, don’t forget that you could need a new appraisal and consider if the planned improvement will add to your home’s value.
- When considering hiring a contractor utilize on-line resources such as the Better Business Bureau, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List. Of course, you might also reach out to your family and friends who have recently completed a home improvement or ask your contractor for customer references.
- Obtain multiple bids when planning to use a contractor.
- Request and receive a written contract that is itemized for materials, costs, warranties, payment schedule and project completion date(s).
- Work with a licensed, bonded and insured contractor. Each state has a website where a consumer can verify a contractor’s business license status. For example, in Tennessee consumers can visit the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Why a licensed, bonded and insured contractor?
It is important to remember that a reputable contractor will welcome your inquiries about their business licensing, bonding and insurance status. Just as the contractor(s) should inquire about your insurance coverage. This is precisely why John Bailey Insurance Agency offers insurance packages for contractors. It is important to know, for example, if the contractor carries Worker’s Comp coverage and General Liability.
Don’t be reluctant to ask to review your contractor’s insurance policy, by asking for a copy of their insurance certificate. This is a common request in the business of home improvements. You will need to know what your homeowner’s policy covers and what items are covered by the contractor’s policy. In most states, the homeowner may request and receive an “additional insured endorsement” from the contractor’s insurance company to cover the homeowner during and through the completion of the home improvement project.
The best rule of thumb is “protect yourself.” After all, all parties want to make your home improvement project enjoyable and successful.
Some final thoughts…
In HomeAdvisors TRUECOST Report 2017, they highlighted that both “baby boomers and millennials are leading the charge in home improvements.” Could it be that these are the two groups that remember fondly the 1986 movie “The Money Pit,” starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long?
If you are having trouble viewing the film-clip, you can see it here.
Here’s to successful home improvement projects!
If you need to review your homeowner’s policy, be sure to contact John Bailey Company. We offer a home insurance program dedicated to the demographics that make up the Knoxville and East Tennessee region. Our home insurance policies are not run of the mill, we offer a broad policy customized to meet your individual insurance needs. Contact us here for a 24-hour turnaround quote.