The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason(s) many states have fallen considerably short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicant demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you don’t have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let’s be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to “qualify” to do home improvement work, brings many a “character” to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, seemed to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consisted of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that dealt with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, “If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them!!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you’ll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place.” As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works or there is no money for more regulations (testing). I have been hearing this for 30 years. The county in which I live (Suffolk County, New York) still does not require any demonstration of home improvement ability to obtain a home improvement license. The fee has consistently gone up but the requirements have pretty much stayed the same. We are one of the highest taxed counties in the country, so I refuse to believe there is no money to develop and implement a better policing and screening process in the home improvement industry.

The National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI) http://www.nari.org is the only national organization that offers certification of home improvement individuals. They have a number of different certifications that one could obtain. To obtain these certifications the applicant needs to demonstrate a variety of knowledge, ranging from good business practices to project knowledge. NARI’s main certification is called – Certified Remodeler (CR). This certification requires the applicant to prepare an extensive matrix or resume of their experience and knowledge as well as obtaining a certain score on an 8-hour exam. There are only approximately 1000 CR’s, out of the hundreds of thousands of home improvement contractors in this country. I earned this certification in 1994 and still proudly hold this certification today. I will admit that obtaining this certification is a time consuming process and does take considerable effort, but it was well worth it. What I also like about this certification is that it has to be renewed every year by demonstrating continued involvement and knowledge in the home improvement industry.

Why then couldn’t Washington mandate some type of screening, nationwide, that all people interested in doing home improvements must be able to “pass” to obtain a license? This license could be used nationwide. Use a screening process that emulates what NARI does for its certifications. You could make the screening as simple as a comprehensive test with multiple choice questions. A test that could be machine scored.

I think an ideal situation for licensing would be to divide up home improvement licensing into sub-licenses. For example, if you were a bathroom contractor you would obtain a license for bathroom home improvements only. This would refine what licensees are qualified to do, rather then issuing one license that could wrongly give the impression that the licensee is capable of doing any type of project.

The reason I think Washington needs to get involved with this problem is because the American public doesn’t have the time to wait for each of the 50 states to come up with a similar solution, individually.

However, if Washington were to step up and mandate a national screening and testing situation, you would still have to address the screening of the people who show up to work on your house. (if they were not the person(s) who was screened and licensed) These people would hopefully be employees of the person who was screened. Is the homeowner then back to square one with not knowing the qualifications of the people working on their house? I tend to think not, because the person who went through the screening and obtained the license would want to keep the license. It is in the best interest of the licensed individual to make sure the project is done correctly. Problems develop when a contractor has too much work and attempts to get it all done by using inexperienced and unqualified help. The lure of completing more work and making more money sometimes leads to his or her business getting “out of control”. This subsequently leads to quality and project completion problems. Employees of licensed and screened contractors need to “qualify” on some level similar to NARI’s lead carpenter certification.

Will any of these desperately needed changes occur any time soon? To be honest, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Washington to step up to the plate and I don’t think your state or local governments will dramatically improve home improvement regulations either.

So what should a homeowner do to protect their home and property? Get the right “tools” and knowledge to be able to protect your home from poor home improvement decisions and situations.

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM) (http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com) can give you all the right knowledge and “tools” you need, without spending hours and hours doing research and trying to figure out what to do. This club has a variety of forums (chat room, message board, phone consultations and project estimate-contract evaluations) to answer your questions about how to get great home improvement results. Membership to this club also includes the use of The Home Improvement Success System, which is a step by step home improvement system that shows you exactly what to do and what not to do. This system can be used with any project. The club also includes a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not delighted with being a club member.

If you’re serious about doing a home improvement project and protecting your home, then join The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM). You will be happy you did!

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com//>

[email protected]
P.O. Box 653
Smithtown, NY 11787
Phone: 631-360-7722
Fax: 631-361-3582

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

Home Improving while Budgeting

As we all know, budgeting and home improvement does not always go together but this article will give you information that could help improve your home and still save a little money.

Home improvement projects regularly scare people off, because many judge that they will pay thousands of dollars to alter one room, because they do not have the skills to do the job them self. They may also feel that the job is costly because supplies and tools are needed.

To the contrary, home improvement does not have to be costly at all. Of course, if you hire a subcontractor or contractor to do the job, you will pay a fortune, but if you have patience and the ability to read and stick to the directions, then you can renovate an whole room in your home for fewer than a hundred dollars. Of course, you will need to change and correlate materials.

Before starting the procedure of improving your home, you will need to system of funds and a schedule to get started. You will need to ponder various notions when considering and preparing home improvement. For example, do you plan to paint your home? Do you plan to tile your home? Do you want carpet in your home?

Going through the final part of this article, you will see just how important budgeting and home improvement can be done which will help save you money and improve your home.

Asking questions is part of analyzing and preparing for home improvement. One of the best tools to have when considering home improvement is calculating what you like and calculating what you want. When I improve my home the first thing I do is explore my mind searching for favorites and what excites and appeals to me. Thus, when I go to the home improvement warehouses, I already have in my brain what I am ready to purchase, therefore this relaxes my quest to improving my home.

If you are short of funds to improve your home, then setting up a financial plan will help you get what you want as well as put away some cash for a rainy day. You may even think about purchasing equipment and tools for home improvement at the companies that propose lower prices and/or purchases with no payments until a particular date. This notion will give you time to get your home better while putting away the currency to purchase the improvement equipment and tools.

Unfortunately, many people go for another home loan to enhance their home. Receiving loans from lenders regularly lead to debt, and home loans for improvement only leads to paying off your home twice. Thus, elude high interest rates and loan payments and learn to plan your finances to improve your home.

Let me give you a general view of what one area could cost you for repairs. Say you want to paint a specific room in your home. You will need plaster, sealers, primer, paints, paint thinners, scrapers, screwdriver, paint opening (often come with paint purchases), patches, paintbrushes, tray, and so forth. Now you may think this will cost you a lot of money to improve your home, but to the contrary, you are wrong.

The paint and tools will cost you the most, while the other items will be priced less; thus, primer, sealers and plaster be priced around fifteen dollars if you go to the correct store.

Paint thinners, trays, brushes and screwdriver will cost around fifteen dollars if you go to the right store. Thus, the patches should be purchased with a plaster kit, which will salvage you a few pennies. The paint will cost around twenty dollars per can, depending on the kind of paint purchased. Therefore, for around a hundred bucks you could alter a room in your home lacking hiring anybody to do the job providing you stick to the instructions.

What about the bathroom, can you alter the room on a financial plan? It depends on the range of the area, but if you are yearning to tile your bathroom and paint the walls you could get the job done for around a hundred bucks give or take. If you go to the correct home improvement store and know what you are doing, you could remodel a small bathroom or average bathroom for around fifty bucks.

Learning to create a financial plan and prepare for home improvements can help you to remodel your whole home (if the home is in good standings) for a few hundred dollars. Furthermore, completing the work yourself, you will recoup you thousands of dollars.

Having this budget and home improvement information handy will help you a great deal the next time you find yourself in need of it.

Tips for Home Improvement Home Equity Loan Financing

No one will argue that increasing the value of your home through home improvement projects
is a great idea. However, large home improvement projects can become quite expensive. Home
improvements lighten your wallet and empty your savings account. Careful planning and
thinking about all your financing options is necessary before beginning your home
improvement project. Below are a few tips for home improvement home equity loan financing to
take into consideration.

Home improvement home equity loans are becoming one of the most popular loans when it comes
to home improvement. Because the interest is deductible from your taxes, It’s a viable tool
for borrowing money. Interest rates on home improvement home equity loans are usually lower
than the interest rates of other types of loans. Another good thing about home improvement
home equity loans is that they are fairly easy to get.

Home improvement home equity loans are great loans for home improvement because the project
can greatly increase the appraisal value of your home. This is a loan that is obtained to be
able to get additional investments for use in the future. Home improvement projects such as
bathroom additions, bedrooms and home extensions can increase the value of a house. However,
some home improvement projects don’t really result in increasing the value of the house. The
construction of a swimming pool is one such project.

Take care when getting a home improvement home equity loan. Don’t forget that the collateral
that you are putting up against the loan is your own house. If you can’t make the payments
and make them on time, you could end up losing your home. You borrowed money for the sole
purpose of improving your house and losing your house would be a disastrous situation
indeed.

Many people use home improvement home equity loans for other reasons. The money is sometimes
spent finance other expenses such as vacations or everyday needs. Steady appreciation of
their houses is what people rely on to be able to pay for the debt. If the value of their
house depreciates at the end of any period, they are in huge financial hot water. This is
why home improvement home equity loans should be used for the improvement of your home
because the risks of depreciation are lower.

To avoid being indebted because of home improvement projects, these tips for home
improvement home equity loan financing should be kept in mind. Home improvements are a great
way to increase the value of your house but always use your head when getting home
improvement home equity loans to finance these projects.

Home Improvement Tips – Affordable Techniques For Updating Your Bedroom

Your bedroom should be a place where you could relax and forget all your worries about work and your personal life. Hence, you should exert extra effort in keeping it a cozy and relaxing area for your tired body and mind. If you want to highlight the natural beauty of your room and to make it more presentable than before, you should consider some home improvement tips. These tips would share some of the most affordable techniques for updating your dull bedroom.

Rearrange your furniture

Do you want to add some nightstands and decorations in your room? You can visit home improvement stores in order to buy new furniture and bedroom accessories. However, there is actually an effective way to add interesting inside your room without spending a single penny.

The secret to updating your bedroom furniture without spending a dime is the technique of rearranging your furniture. Look around your home and list down some of the things that you could transfer inside your room. For an example, a table in your living room could be used as a nightstand instead. You could even make that table look more personalized by adding some beads, sequins, or other artistic materials in its surface.

Organize your closet

A neat and organized closet contributes to the overall aesthetics of your bedroom. Arrange your cabinets by sorting all your things inside them. Use small boxes or containers for holding all your personal accessories and trinkets together. Neatly fold all your shirts and pants. Look for shoe racks that could be placed inside cabinets. Once you do these things and organize your closet, you would feel more comfortable every time you step inside your room and see how clean it is.

Choose the right paint color

There is no absolute rule for choosing the right paint colors for bedrooms. However, it would be more advisable to coat your room with white paint. It could make help you save money on your electric bills because of its capacity to reflect more sunlight inside your room. In addition, it would also effortlessly make you room look classy and elegant at the same time.

If you are simply not into plain colors, you could still choose any other color of your choice. You could still use bold colors or any other color that would make you feel satisfied with your room’s interiors. Just make sure that you are willing to give up the benefits you could receive from a room with relaxing white walls.

Buy bed linens and throw pillows

You should also invest on some bed linens in order to give your room an instant new look. You can save money on bed linens by taking advantage of white sales in different department stores. During this event, you could get brand new bed linens for very affordable price tags.

If ever you do not think that your budget could cover the expenses from buying linens, you could use stylish blankets as bedcovers instead. Choose those that would match the color scheme of your room, or those with prints that reflect your personality. Finish it off by adding some fashionable and soft throw pillows on the top of your bed.

Once you do these home improvement tips, you would succeed in updating your bedroom despite your tight budget. Making your home look better does not need to be too luxurious or grandiose.