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Common sense and home improvements

The Three Little Pigs had very different ideas on home improvements. Two of them couldn’t see problems ahead, much to the joy of the Big Bad Wolf. Some good professional advice and common sense could have helped them avoid total disaster.

When considering building or remodeling your home, begin by prioritizing your wants and needs. 

After you have some ideas, it may be beneficial to consult with a qualified professional. One type of professional is a project manager. He can help you research your options, assess feasibility, qualify your needs and wants, and establish a budget before you spend money on drawings or builders.

This person should come on board at the idea stage. Employing sound project management techniques, he will define the scope and specification of your project, procure drawings and approach reputable contractors on your behalf. 

Home improvements can increase the value of your property but you must consider how much to spend and most importantly, what to spend on, to get the best return.

Local market demands will influence your decision; modern kitchens are always popular. A new and modern kitchen can be the most attractive part of the home for a potential buyer or renter.

Some improvements will make your home more appealing to you, but very different improvements may be required if you are trying to sell or rent the premises for more than its current value. Choose elements that need updating for your own comfort and enjoyment and balance these wishes against “must-haves,” like good access for your car, for example. The surrounding properties may have facilities that you don’t, for example a nice garden or driveway.   

Beware of common mistakes. The first little piggy’s straw house, for example, wouldn’t be suitable anywhere in the UK! Similarly, it would be unwise to install a new £10,000 kitchen in a £1 million home as this would not increase its overall value. Some alterations can put your home out of character with your neighborhood making it harder to rent or sell. For example, a hot tub or swimming pool can be seen as a disadvantage due to the cost of maintenance. However, if other homes in the neighborhood have pools, it may be necessary to install one to keep your property attractive. You can keep up with your neighbours without ruining the distinctive nature of your home.

Be mindful that changes to your home may increase insurance costs. Remember to advise your home insurance company.

These are just some of the factors affecting the success of the home improvement project. Long before the big winds blow, whether it’s a wolf or a gale, some things can be done to anticipate and avoid disaster, it just takes common sense and good project management.

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By Chris Potter

Chris is the owner and founder of Chris Potter Associates. He is a highly experienced construction professional with experience as a contractor and consultant quantity surveyor and project manager in the UK and Caribbean construction markets.

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