The Value of Cosmetic Home Improvements – Increasing the Property Value For Selling

Upgrades and renovations are two of the most common home improvements home owners deal with. These normally bring the property value up, and that in turn, can give them a nice profit later down the road. Others do it to make changes. These changes are generally planned for in advance.

Bathrooms, flooring, and kitchens are the most common things that get upgraded. Bedroom renovations, or house additions are also a part of that umbrella. These are usually cosmetic changes. Some things are done because they are required.

Improvements start with an idea. Books, magazines, or a friend’s home sometimes make a homeowner start thinking about how their space could be decorated or changed. Sometimes it takes a new coat of paint. Sometimes it takes more.

Professionals, such as contractors are often hired to take on these projects. You will want to get the best individual for the job, so do the right research. This can take a little bit of time. Always make sure that the person or company you choose is certified.

Make sure that you also get the right professionals for what you are doing. If you are working in the bathroom, get a plumber involved. Electricians might be needed for additions being added to the house. A roofer might be required for repairs.

Locating these professionals is not hard if you know where to look. Hardware and home supply stores often have bulletin boards where individuals can post or pick up business cards. These cards are often for contractors.

Another way to find these people is to look in the phone book. Check under contractors for the major building cosmetics. They should be able to lead you in right direction to finding other professionals for the project. That is because that probably work with them every day.

Prior to the beginning of work, have a meeting with everyone involved. Discuss payments, and what you want to have done. Most companies charge by the hour. Some do not. That is why is important to know what you are doing. Get it all in writing to protect you and those working for you.

When the renovations are finished, have an inspector go through the house before you make any payments. This will assure that the work is done properly. When everything checks out, pay the agreed fees. Take a few business cards to pass around to friends. This will help keep them in business.

Doing home improvements is often more expensive than doing plain yard cosmetics. It is also takes more time. Yet, individuals will understand the investment of this time and money when they are ready to sell their place.

3 Benefits of an Online Personal Development Home Based Business

There are countless people out there who will tell you the benefits of setting up your own online home based business. However, most of these people will not recommend to you in what niche you should set up your online business.

It is my recommendation that you set up a business in the personal development niche. Below I will outline 3 reasons why you should set up in the personal development niche. You can:

-Fit an online personal development business around your other life commitments-
An online self improvement business allows you to fit your work around your life. It gives you the tools to set up your business whilst creating a balance between work and home life. An online personal development business teaches you the benefits of spending more time with your friends and family.

-Help people better themselves-
The basic premise of an online personal self help development home based business is that you help other people better themselves. There are millions of people throughout the world who want to improve themselves and you have a global reach with an online business.

-Don’t get depressed dealing with a nasty boss-
What would you prefer? Constantly educating and improving yourself or dealing with a nasty boss who does not respect the work that you do? I think that it is a pretty easy choice. Setting up your own personal development business and constantly working with people who are looking to improve themselves gives you a sense of fulfillment that few other jobs can.

If you are going to start your own online home based business, I cannot recommend highly enough the personal development niche. You get to make money online in a niche with a large captive audience and you get the fulfillment that only comes from helping people improve their lives.

What You Should Know Before You Hire A Home Improvement Contractor

Home Improvement Contractors (HIC) and Home Improvement Salesman (HIS) are required by law in almost every jurisdiction in the United States to be registered and licensed. Licensing procedures are generally done by Municipal or local agencies of the respective State. For example, HIC and HIS are licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs in New York City.

As you might be aware, many of these Home Improvements Contractors and Salesmen are “fly by night” operators who misrepresent and fraudulently swindle millions of dollars from innocent home owners every year. Many of whom run and operate their scams out of their Vans, Trucks and SUV instead of a physical business address. Many years ago, the home improvement trade was referred to as the “Tin Men” industry where high powered salesmen sold aluminum sidings to homeowners with over 500-1000 per cent mark ups in many cases. Many of those same homeowners ended up with huge second mortgages, mechanic liens and foreclosures in many cases against their properties.

If you are a homeowner making plans to renovate or improve your properties, these are some tips on how to select or chose the right Home Improvement Contractor for your next project. First and foremost, ask HIC and HIS for proof of license, business card showing address, phone number, website, email addresses, etc. Their licenses should be imprinted on business cards. Next, ask for references or testimonials. Try to get at least 3-5 references and make sure not only to call them, but go over and look at the work that was done first hand. Visual inspection is always crucial in deciding on a project. Most importantly, get at least 3-5 written estimates from other HIC/HIS and compare prices. It is never recommended to sign a contract on the spot with any of these high powered salesmen. Take time out to think about the quote or estimate, compare prices and most importantly, call your local municipal or agency to verify that the HIC and HIS are legitimate. It is also a good idea to find out if the HIC you are contemplating to do business with carry what is called a Home Improvement Trust Fund. This is a fund that each HIC is required to pay into so if a homeowner gets scammed, he or she can seek restitution directly from the Agency that licensed the HIC or HIS. Last but not least, try not to give a deposit during the execution of contract. Give yourself that 3 days cancellation right that you are entitled to, so you can think about the transaction or offer. If in any case you are required to give a down payment or deposit, give a very small deposit (less than 10 per cent) if possible. Always keep in mind, never give more than you can afford to lose. If the HIC or HIS is legitimate, they will not ask or insist on getting a deposit up front. They should be credible enough to have accounts/credit with Suppliers such as Home Depot, Lowes, etc., to get materials delivered to your property. Beware of HIC or HIS who desperately seek huge deposits up front. Some of them will demand that you write the check in their names or give them cash. Do NOT do it. That is the first sign to detect an illegal operator. You should write the check to the Company or use a credit card. If they refuse, you should show them the door or call the Police.

In conclusion, let me recommend that you seek a progress payment plan with your Contractor. In other words, you pay them as they go along based on your approval, and most importantly, the Municipal Building Inspector’s approval. You do NOT want to pay a Contractor until or unless the Inspectors give a green light certifying that the work is done professionally and in accordance with local building codes. Ask your Contractor to allow you to hold back at least 10 per cent of the final payment, or better yet, the total contract price for at least 60-90 days after completion, so as to make sure that the work was done correctly. Just imagine getting a roof done for example, and only to find out after a heavy downpour that your roof leaks. Many Contractors do not come back to repair their shoddy workmanship when they get paid. Hold back some money! If you financed your project through a bank or third party lender, get that finance company involved. Make sure that they do a visual inspection of the job that was done and also sign off with the job before they release final payments to the Contractor.

Do I Need a Website For My Home Based Business?

Often we are faced with the question “do I need my own website to run a home based business?” The following 10 reasons outline the benefits you will have in owning your own website.

1. Establish A Presence – Fact is, millions of people access the internet everyday and this number is expected to double over the next couple of years. Having your own website for your home business will allow your internet business to achieve maximum exposure. It may also boost your image and improve your business’ credibility. Your website can contain a simple 1 page site with information about your home business (for example contact information, hours, etc) or a more complex website for you to share your expertise, experiences, education and enthusiasm to the great world wide web.

2. Creates a 24 hour service – A website is accessible 24 hours a day/7 days a week – Weekends, Holidays, Weekdays etc. It basically works for you even when you are not working. This ensures that you don’t miss a sale!

3. Expand your market to the global level – Your website allows you to tap into potential markets your probably would never have considered. These include the international market, where you can communicate with potential customers from all around the globe, specialised markets, where you can direct your website to attract specific customers of a particular expertise, age, interest etc and the local market, where you can meet up with people in person to talk about your business.

4. Inexpensive, flexible and simple – The average cost to get a domain name and reliable web hosting for a year can cost as little as $100. Most web hosting companies have access to website builders which will allow you to build a website with no technical knowledge. Even if you were to get a web designer to create your website this usually costs under a thousand dollars. Compare this to spending the same amount of money in putting a decent size ad in your local paper.  The difference is that the local ad you just spent money on expires after that edition is read whereas your website will be yours and advertising for you on the internet for as long as you like. You also have the flexibility of adding features such as forms, polls, surveys etc to collect visitors names and email addresses for future correspondence.

5. Improve customer service – you website can be a world of information to your browsers and available to them when they are ready to learn more. Your website can also contain a “Frequently Asked questions” page which will help potential customers understand and clear up any queries without taking up your time. This should reduce your support costs by about 20%. You website may also allow feedback from customers. This is a valuable tool to see what your customers think, how you can improve and what can you further provide to satisfy them.

6. Set up an online shop – With this added advantage a website will bring in more sales for you as many people like to research items of interest before buying it in today’s world. While they are excited and interested in your offer, this is the time you must “catch” that sale as they are more likely to purchase it if your offer is available at the e click of a button.

7. Readily updated information – Beauty of your website is that it can be green one day and red the next. You have the opportunity to change appearance, information and the words in just a few minutes. You can update information readily and you can update it as many times as you want. A website is easier, cheaper and more convenient to update than brochures, business cards, price lists, and inventory. This saves many dollars in printing and distribution.

8. Better ad tracking and marketing – Advertising, press releases, more advertising, more press releases – all this adds up to one word – expensive. One advantage of having a website is the ad tracking features available. You will know exactly where your customers come from and can repeat that particular strategy or advertisement. You cannot do this offline, it would not be practical to ask every customer that comes into your shop where they heard about you or which ad did they respond to. The internet allows you to do this and this in turn allows you to target the specific market you need.

9. Addition of blogs, pictures, videos – Posting to your blog on a regular basis or adding multimedia content to your site will not only improve the attractiveness and effectiveness of your offer but also improve your site’s exposure on the search engines.

10. personal satisfaction – lastly it doesn’t come without saying that having your own website will definitely give you some personal satisfaction. You have the chance to experiment with and learn about design, and the freedom to present and emphasize the information you want the way you want to. Creating and maintaining your own Website allows you to learn more about today’s technology and keep up with times.

Overall the advantages of having your own website for your home business is clear allowing you benefits in both time and money.  A small investment now in a website can lead to great profits in the future.