A little homework never hurt

Since we purchased this house in 2000, we’ve learned a lot of lessons about home improvement.  I’m not sure if everyone knows exactly what he or she is getting into with the purchase of a new home; after all, most of us are just so excited to have our own space — with our own walls that we can drive nails into if we want to.

Home ownership is nice, but it also comes with a slew of added responsibilities.  There are gutters to be cleaned, windows to be replaced, old carpet to be ripped up, drywall to be repaired, and the list goes on and on.  Truthfully, I envy all those do-it-yourselfers who are able to pick up the toolbox and make it all right.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.  One just has to look at my recent posts to see the fun I’m having trying to get a contractor to come over and do a rather small job for me.  And I truthfully wouldn’t be in this mess if I would have done things the right way from the beginning and had gotten some contractor referrals first.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, folks.  Let me give you a short lesson on how foolishly hired the first contractor for our dining room job:

Me:  (talking to a friend) “Hey, do you know any contractors who could do some work on my house?”

Friend: “Yeah, my brother-in-law.  He’s really good.”

Me:  “Cool, he’s hired!”

Ok, so there was a little more conversation than that.  But the bottom line is that I learned a lesson the hard way, for that good ol’ brother-in-law slipped out of the deal the day before our bank loan came through, and it took us another month to find a good contractor.  So work that should have been done two months ago is still undone.  I kick myself almost every day.

For the most part, I’ve done my homework before hiring people.  When we needed our basement waterproofed, I turned to the ‘net to get some company names.  I wasn’t sorry, for we haven’t had a drop of water in our basement since.

There are still a lot of jobs that we need to do around here.  Every winter I have to put plastic over the windows to keep out the draft; our kitchen window is so bad that the plastic billows out like a sail.  The next project on our list (after the dining room is done, that is) involves replacing all of our old windows.  There are a lot of window replacement companies out there, and you can bet that I’m going to get some referrals  before I hire someone to take on that job.  Have you seen how much a window costs?  Someone screws that up and you’re out a small fortune.

I’ve learned my lesson, albeit the hard way.  A little homework never hurt anyone, especially when it comes to repairing the expensive investment that you live in.

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  1. Dara’s avatar

    I think especially with the real estate market the way it is, people are going to try to do home improvements by themselves, and make their homes as liveable for as long as possible. It’s definitely a good idea to do as much research as possible before purchasing — the more inspections, the better!

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