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Top Five Home Improvement Ideas to Consider

Home improvement is a very widespread field, with many ideas from which to choose. During the summertime, countless people think about remodeling their homes, making improvements to certain rooms of the house, but are often not sure which improvements to do. Low-cost home improvements that not only improve your home’s appearance, but also help you save money in the long run, are the hottest plans currently. I’m writing this to list these ideas and hopefully, help spark your imagination. These are the top 5 home improvement ideas for 2009:

1.) Installing “Green” Technology – Due to the need of almost everyone to save money right now, and because of the increased awareness of the need to save our environment, the top home improvement plan right now is the installing of “green” technology, also known as “going green.” This could include such installments as solar panels, power-generating windmills, environmentally-friendly cleaners, energy efficient heating and cooling system, and energy-saving light bulbs. Solar panels may be costly at first, but they will save a huge amount of money in the long run by generating your own electricity. The same goes for the energy efficient heating and cooling system – it will help you save money on your electric bills. Windmills can not only help you generate your own electricity, but they can be made with parts from the junkyard. You can’t get much cheaper than that! Also, many of these “going green” improvements will help you qualify for a tax break and help out the environment. It’s a win-win situation.

2.) Install a programmable thermostat – This may be a very simple improvement, but don’t underestimate it. Installing a programmable thermostat will help save money on your electric bills. How does it do this? Instead of having the air conditioning or the heater running all day, the pre-programmed thermostat only turns on the AC or the heat when the temperature of the house gets too hot or too cold. This keeps the central heating and cooling system from running unnecessarily and, in turn, saves you money.

3.) Re-insulate your home – Making sure your home is well insulated will also help save you money on electric bills. That is because a well-insulated home will not let out cool air in the summer, and it will not let out warm air in the winter. That also keeps hot or cold air from drafting into the house.

4.) Paint or re-decorate your living space – This may seem like a very simple improvement to your home, but it is effective. Painting your rooms and re-decorating in soothing colors and accents will help you relax and want to spend more time in your newly decorated home. Pamper yourself along with the new designs and you will feel like you are at a spa getaway.

5.) Put in a patio – This is probably the most expensive option (unless you have close friends or family who are carpenters) but it is worth the splurge. A patio or a sun deck will allow you to relax and soak up some rays in your own back yard. You can grill out with family and friends, sun bathe on a chaisse lounge, or watch the stars from your patio. The good thing about putting in a patio is that it is actually less expensive than adding a room onto your house. A patio may be a small addition, but it will more than pay for itself with all the hours of relaxation it will afford.

No matter which home improvement idea you decide to choose, the payoff will be well worth it. Even if these ideas aren’t what you are looking for, there are many other low-cost home improvement ideas. This year, less is more is the approach to home improvement, and saving money is the best thing.

The Best Home Improvement Projects

The chances are if you own your own home that you will have done some kind of home improvement or have thought about doing some. You may either do it yourself or get in a professional, either way it would have considered the reasons for improving your home carefully. Maybe you have just moved in and you want to put your mark on the house or you just simply want a refreshed style. You may have had a child move out and you are redecorating or you just want to add value to your properties value. The latter being an increasingly important consideration these days

In any case you probably have limited time and / or resources and so choosing the projects that re going to make the most impact are very important decisions. We have explored the top three rooms to improve in a home in the UK to give you an idea of how it can affect your home in terms of its value.

1) Build a conservatory (7%)

Granted this is a big job to get done. However, it can tick a lot of the home improvement boxes. It adds around 7% of the value of your home and adds vital living space. This is a great option if you cant afford a full blown extension but have a requirement for more space like having a family and out growing the existing space.

2) Update the kitchen (5%)

Most home owners spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Updating it can add around 5% to the homes value and will lead to a much nicer experience at home. You can even use the same units and renew the doors and worktops and appliances to give your kitchen a completely new look. You may also want to consider adding new kitchen wall tiles and floor tiles as this can add real impact to a kitchen. Don’t forget lighting too!

3) Update the bathrooms (3%)

Another room which gets a lot of use and can add great value to your home is updating a bathroom. For a relatively small investment you can add a significant amount to the value of the property. Also it will just be so much nicer to have a lovely bath or shower you can spend lots of time in. Again, tiling in a bathroom in paramount to it finish. Using quality bathroom tiles is a must here and get some good fixtures such as taps as it can really dress up a bathroom.

So there are our top three home improvement ideas but of course you could juts decorate and put some value on your home.

Finding The Best Home Improvement Contractor

So you finally decided to take on that home remodeling project. Good for you.

While I admit there is something about doing your own home remodeling, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you are truly up to the task. If, after doing some research and inner searching you decide that you need to have a true professional home improvement company do the job, there are a few things to do to get the job off the ground.

Figure Out Your Budget

Home improvement projects aren’t cheap. Even the smallest of laundry room could cost over one or two thousand dollars.

If you know anyone that has had a similar renovation recently completed, you can ask them how much the project costed if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, the best idea is to search online.

There are many forums and other websites that people talk about their home improvement projects. However, you need to know that prices are relative to the area which you live. It is best to do a local search so you have a better idea what it will cost in your area.

My rule of thumb is to double whatever figure I first thought of. I recently had a local home improvement company completely renovate my laundry room. I was estimating it would be around $1,000. Well, the final price was $2,000 after a $300 addition to the project after the original estimate was completed.

Find Local Contractors

This isn’t the hardest task really. You can easily find a list of 30 to 50 contractor by using websites like Manta.com or the Yellowpages.com.

The problem is that much of the details on those sites are incorrect. After painstakingly building a database of contractors over an hours or two, there is nothing worse than finding out the information is incorrect. What a waste of time.

Of course you can do a simple search on Google for home improvement companies in your area, and that should get you a fine list. But the problem is that some of the best and most affordable company’s websites aren’t optimized for Google Searches. By using this method, you are finding the most internet marketing savvy companies, which usually means they charge the highest prices because they get the most calls.

Another option you have is to use a local website that partners in the with the top local home improvement companies. A site like this is PittsburghHomeImprovements.com. All you have to do is enter your information and they will provide it to their incredible database of the top home improvement companies in the area. All you have to do is sit back and let the companies call you.

Accepting A Bid

However you find your contractors and receive your bids, the next step is to accept a bid. While you might want to simply go with the lowest estimate, there are a few things that you might want review prior to accepting that bid.

First, how soon can each contractor start your project. If you are in a hurry, and the cheapest bid can’t start for a month or two, you might be forced to go with another bid. Also, how fast will the project be completed. Some companies will over promise and say a job can be completed quicker than they can actually do it.

If one company’s bid is quoted quite a bit quicker than all of the other contractors, you might want to either question that or go with another bid. I would always rather a contractor overestimate than underestimate the time needed to complete the job correctly.