The Home Improvement Nightmare-Who’s To Blame and How To Avoid It

Unless you live in a remote part of the country with no television, newspaper or other people to talk to, there is a good chance you have heard or read about a home improvement scam or project gone wrong. It seems to be a fact in this country that when you go about doing a home improvement project you will usually encounter countless problems, delays and shoddy work.

The home improvement experience leaves most people stressed and vowing never to do another project again! So it is not surprising to hear that home improvement complaints rank at the top of consumer complaints nationwide year after year. Where does the blame fall for this epidemic of home improvement problems?

I am proud to say I was a home improvement contractor for almost 30 years and I was fortunate enough to win some of the industry’s highest awards. However, it has never ceased to amaze me the poor home improvement decisions that I have seen so many homeowners make. One of the more notable mistakes I would see done over and over again was when a homeowner would blindly hire someone to do a project because the person was a friend or a friend of a friend. To me this reasoning makes no sense.

Friendship and craftsmanship are not related, but for some reason a lot of people believe other wise. Another great example of homeowner apathy is hiring someone to do a project without ever putting anything in writing. Who in their right mind would ever agree to such a disastrous situation? Another very similar blunder would be for a homeowner to blindly accept an estimate on the back of a business card. Usually the only information that has room on the back of a business card is the PRICE.

A major mistake made by many people doing a home improvement project is letting price dictate the decision on who to hire. More problems occur because homeowners pick the lowest price they can find. Why? It is very simple. You can only produce a high quality project at a certain cost. High quality materials, expert labor, appropriate insurances and a reasonable profit to stay in business, cost a certain amount of money.

If someone can do that same project under that amount, what do you think is going to happen when the job is being done? That’s right, the person or company is going to do anything they can to try and make a profit. All of the possibilities that could result from the person you hired, as the low bidder, trying to make a profit, are simply all BAD for the homeowner. In home improvements you get exactly what you pay for.

Let’s not forget to put some of the blame on people looking to work on your home. Over the years I have seen some of my competitors commit heinous business practices. (Surprise!!) I have seen contractors switch materials to lesser quality without customer approval, use unqualified labor, overcharge homeowners for “unforeseen problems”, try to up sell the customer once the project starts, etc.,etc.,etc…….it makes you wonder if you can trust anyone?

So where does the blame fall for all the home improvement complaints year after year? I guess it would be easy to blame the homeowner for not educating themselves on what to do when attempting a project. However the next question would be where does a homeowner get “educated”? Maybe a better question would be when does a homeowner find the time to get “educated”? Education is a great tool if you have the time to do the research. Most people don’t have the time or want to take the time to do hours and hours of research on how to go about getting a home improvement done correctly.

Oops I almost forgot Uncle Sam. A lot of people, including myself, think the government makes it too easy for someone, who has no ethics or skills, to do home improvement work. Why are there still some states that do not have licensing for people doing home improvements? And in the states that do have licensing, why are some of these states issuing licenses without the applicant needing to demonstrate any type of competence in home improvement work? This is like giving out a driver’s license without taking a road test. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

One last situation to blame, one that I would never forgive myself for not mentioning. Home improvement television shows have become the latest fad in television. You can hardly change television channels without a home improvement program popping up. The influx of home improvement shows on television has been phenomenal. However, most of these shows tend to unrealistically glorify the home improvement project as being easy to do with nothing ever going wrong. The last time I looked, nothing ever goes perfect, including home improvement projects. Little, if any information is mentioned on these shows, about how not to be “taken to the cleaners” when doing a project.

One would have to conclude that there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the problems homeowners face when attempting a home improvement project. Unfortunately, most of these problems have been around for many years and if you are expecting a “quick fix”, I think you might be waiting a very long time.

Since I retired from the home improvement industry two (2) years ago I decided it was time to stop worrying about who or what to blame about the constant wave of home improvement complaints (it really seems to be a waste of energy since nothing seems to change) and to put together a way for homeowners to fight back and get the home improvement results that they deserve.

This is why I founded The Home Improvement Success Club of America (TM). The club’s website, which I hope you will visit, can be found at This is a one-of-a-kind club that guides homeowners on how to get high quality, problem free, home improvement results.

Membership to this club includes The Home Improvement Success System, a complete how-to home improvement system that details all the steps you need to take to make your project a success. The club membership also includes a web forum to ask questions, phone consultations, monthly newsletters, teleseminars, teleclasses and written evaluations of member estimates and contracts.

This club guarantees to short cut the time homeowners need to learn how to complete any home improvement project. You are shown what to do and what to avoid. All the information that you receive from this club you could spend months trying to find, but by joining this club it is at your finger tips 24/7.

To do a home improvement project correctly you need to follow five (5) steps. These steps are:

1. Define your project based on your needs, finances and structural constraints.

2. Determine who can complete the project.

3. Evaluate perspective candidates (including yourself) who you may want to use to complete the project.

4. Prepare a contract that is “thorough” and protects you from poor home improvement situations.

5. Completing certain tasks when the project is being built.

These five steps seem relatively easy to understand but it’s the “particulars” (exactly what to say and do) of each step where most people fall short. Knowing these “particulars” are what makes or breaks your project. Membership to this club will guide you to completing a home improvement project without all the problems and aggravation that most people go through.

If you are interested in protecting your home from the home improvement nightmare, than visit The Home Improvement Success Club of America Website. Joining this club is the next best thing to getting “Home Improvement Insurance”. All Club memberships come with a 30 day money back guarantee.

By Hank Jaworowski, CR
Founder and President of The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
e-mail:[email protected]

Selling Your Home? Home Improvement Projects to Avoid

Many homeowners each year make the mistake of thinking that any home improvement project is a good one in terms of adding value to their home. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. There are some home improvement projects you can take on which will not improve the value of your home in terms of the money you spend on the project and there are even other home improvement projects which can detract from the value of your home. If you think you may sell your home at some point in the future, it is imperative to make sure you know which home improvement projects to tackle and which ones to avoid.

The first thing to keep in mind when considering any home improvement project is that you do not want to outdo the neighbors. While the old adage of keeping up with the Joneses is certainly true to a degree, you do not want to exceed them. A home that is largely out of the price range of its neighbors is usually going to be more difficult to sell than a home that is in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood.

Two of the biggest mistakes you can make on home improvement projects is spending money on highly individualized projects and technological advancements. Avoid spending money on items such as saunas and steam baths. Such improvements might add to the value of your property but if the buyers viewing your home are not interested in these items you may find it more difficult to sell the property.

The same is also true for swimming pools. Many homeowners make the grave mistake of believing that a pool with add to the value and desirability of their home. This is definitely not true. Many buyers, especially those with small children, avoid homes with pools. Even if a buyer does not have small children they may be concerned about the maintenance issues that go along with having a swimming pool. The simple fact is that homes with pools generally tend to take longer to sell than homes that do not have a pool. If you are considering adding a pool to your home make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, because you will enjoy it, and not because you want to improve the value of your home. Otherwise, the addition of a pool should be avoided.

In addition, it is imperative to avoid spending a lot of money on technological advancements which will usually quickly become outdated. This is a waste of money that will usually not net you a large return.

Ideally, it is usually the simplest things which will bring you the highest rate of return in terms of home improvement projects. Simple projects such as ensuring your home has a fresh coat of paint or improving your landscaping can add a lot of value to your home and make it more desirable. Never underestimate the power of curb appeal; particularly in homes that are considered to be luxury properties.

This has become increasingly popular today when more buyers are beginning their property search on the Internet. Statistics indicate that some 80% of buyers actually begin looking for properties online. A photograph is truly worth more than a thousand words in these circumstances. If your home lacks curb appeal this could mean that it will the house that languishes on the market for months while other homes with more curb appeal sell much faster.

There are certainly some areas in which it makes more financial sense to focus your money if you are considering selling your home. Staging is one of them. Studies indicate that homes which have been professionally staged are selling faster and for more money than homes that have not been professionally staged. Luxury homes may even be able to sell for up to 20% more with staging than homes that are not staged.

You should also keep in mind the features that are most popular in homes right now. Kitchens and master bedrooms continue to rank high in importance with most buyers. Buyers are looking for master bedrooms which can serve as sanctuaries and have features such as vaulted ceilings and fireplaces.

The main key is to make sure that regardless of what types of home improvement projects you take on, you do not go too far. There is definitely something to the old cliché ‘too much of a good thing’ and that is certainly true in the case of home improvement projects.

How to Get the Best Return on Investment for Your Home Improvement Remodeling Projects

A home improvement remodeling project can actually make you money in the long run. Also, there are returns on your investment that have nothing to do with financial gains. The most important thing about remodeling your home is that you should have something in the end that is more valuable to you than it was in the beginning. There are several ways to improve your ROI.

1. Choose the right home improvement remodeling project.

Select a plan that will make a big difference in the value of your home. The two most profitable changes are updating your kitchen and remodeling you bathroom. These are the rooms with the most cabinetry, fixtures, and appliances.

When someone wants to buy your home, they will be impressed by a modern, beautiful kitchen. They will also pay strong attention to a well-designed and nicely-appointed bathroom. Not only will these two home improvement remodeling projects add to your home’s money value, but they will increase its intrinsic value to you as well.

2. Do not make mistakes.

If you spend extra time and money doing the job, you may end up with a huge investment in the project. Your home improvement remodeling job will only improve your situation financially if you spend less doing the project than the value you gain from the results. Sometimes extra costs can run up when you make mistakes in doing the job. You might buy the wrong supplies, break the supplies you get, or install them incorrectly.

However, hiring a home improvement remodeling company will assure that the job gets done right the first time. It may appear that you are getting the job done for less when you plan it out to do it yourself. Yet, if you have many false starts and wasted materials, you will probably profit more from using skilled remodelers in the first place.

3. Make sure you finish.

Many people start home improvement remodeling jobs only to leave them half-completed. Perhaps they do not have the spare time to do the work required. They might not make the financial commitment to getting the job finished. Maybe they just lose interest in the project.

For whatever reasons, there are large numbers of homeowners who have partially done projects making parts of their homes nearly unlivable. If you have started a project and do not see an end in sight, it is probably time to hire a home improvement remodeling company to finish it for you. They can put their full concentration on the job rather than having to think about it after work like you do. There is no shame in seeking help; the only shame is in leaving your home in chaos indefinitely.

Your home will bring more money on the market if your home improvement remodeling projects are completed, and completed meticulously. If you have the skills, ability, time and desire to plan a project, start it and keep it going through to the end, you may be able to make that return on investment a reality. If so, you can make it better, both in the increased price your home is worth and in the value you get from you home while you live there. If not, it is a good idea to think about hiring a home improvement remodeling company to help you out.