Navigating the Mine Field That Is Home Improvement

Thirteen years ago, the home improvement industry was a much kinder landscape. The amount of information available was present but consumers were not as covered by it through as many channels. In that time, I have seen some amazing home improvement projects and some monumental fiascoes. Throughout those thirteen years, the one phrase that has been repeated over and over… “This could have easily been avoided.” Pre-planning and choosing a contractor are often poorly executed steps in large home improvement processes.

First, the amount of information that homeowners have to navigate is mind boggling. HGTV, DIY, websites, local organizations, manufacturers, distributors, subcontractors, contractors, banks. Consumers have to STOP and ask themselves some pertinent questions before they even think about going to a search engine and looking for a contractor.

The most important part of the plan during a project of any magnitude is the pre-plan. Consumers need to ask the following questions:

1. Why am I really doing this project? Be honest with yourself. Don’t automatically think that putting 30k into your kitchen is going to get you 30k more on your sale price. Its just not going to happen.

2. Can you REALLY afford this project. Assess the rest of your life. What kind of shape is your car in right now? How is your health? How far away are those college tuition payments for your 13 year old?

If your confidence level is still high move on to #3.

3. Are you prepared to have a total life invasion for an unspecified period of time. Most projects are messy and time consuming. How is your patience?

4. Does the magnitude of the project justify the time frame that you plan to occupy the home or will it force that time frame? Do you need to put a $50,000 addition on a house you plan to leave in 3 years?

It is true that some consumers have so much extra cash around that none of the above questions matter. Those consumers are an extreme minority. For the rest of you.. read on.

Second, the old days of calling the first three companies that come up on Google are over. I used to be that guy and I work in this industry! Social media marketing has transformed strategic business practices forever but remember, you aren’t hiring them for their IT skills. However, it is not an understatement to say that someone without an email address is not going to be viable in the long term 21st century business landscape.

River Scott

Emmett River Scott: Emmett, a culture journalist, writes about arts and entertainment, pop culture trends, and celebrity news.