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5 Important DIY Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

5 Important DIY Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Every good homeowner should always be looking for ways to fix and improve his home. Small projects can improve the value of your home, give it a more personal touch, and give you a sense of accomplishment as you look at your improved living space. Even small improvements such as replacing the faucet can make your home look more modern and give it more value.

But for every smart fixer-upper, there is another person who trashes his home and loses thousands of dollars when he is forced to call a repairman to fix his mistakes. If you want to do things yourself, here are some key tips to consider before just jumping into any project that interests you.

1. Over-budget and Over-prepare

You cannot just wing DIY projects and hope for the best. Something is always going to go wrong. It may be that you need additional supplies or that your planned exterior renovations do not look quite right, but if you find yourself caught flatfooted in the middle of a project, it is difficult to either slog on or go back to the way things were.

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So plan, plan, and plan some more. The Wanderlust Kitchen has a great guide on steps which you should be thinking if you intend to completely remodel your home, and notes the importance of making a plan now as well as determining what can be done first and put off until later. Even if your home renovation plans are not that ambitious, always assume that any project will take more time and money than you would think.

2. Get bang for your buck

A lot of homeowners hope that by renovating their home, they may be able to make up the costs by increasing its resale value. But most DIY projects are not going to be able to recoup themselves and treating your home like an investment instead of a home is not a great idea.

Nevertheless, some home improvement projects offer a better return than others. “Green” improvements such as double-paned windows or adding storm doors are very popular as is remodeling your kitchen. By contrast, adding a pool may be enjoyable but are a major turnoff for homeowners who would rather have a yard. If you are looking to improve your home’s value, make sure to do renovations which you know people years from now will value as opposed to something trendy.

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3. Know when to fold them

There are far too many stories when some brave, foolish soul attempts a DIY project because he does not want to shame himself by calling a professional and ruins his house as a result. While you can do some projects yourself if you know what you are doing, do not hesitate to call a professional if you feel intimidated.

In particular, use a professional if you plan on making any changes to your home’s wiring, plumbing, or floors. This especially applies to the first two, as a mistake there can either kill you or see your home destroyed through a broken pipe. But if you intend to embark on a DIY project, do your research and do not start until you feel sure that you are ready to handle things.

4. Vet your handyman

If you intend to use a professional to fix up your home, then you need to hire someone you can trust. If you are careful, you can waste thousands of dollars on a contractor who will do shoddy work if not outright scam you.

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The best way to find a reliable contractor is to ask friends and family if they know anyone who they trusted to fix their homes. This is a strategy I used when looking for custom home builders in Maryland, back in 2008. The contractor my brother had recommended also came well reviewed on Yelp and other review sites, which should be your second source. Once you have a name, call the contractor and ask for a face to face interview before the two of you start working. Do not forget to ask for a reference and discuss in detail what plans he might recommend for your particular renovation and how he might do things differently. An expert opinion should be always welcome.

5. Stick to your decision

You have drawn up the plans for your home renovation, picked a contractor, and started working. But when you are partially finished, you think about other renovations which would make your home look even better and consider switching to another project. Or perhaps you think that there is a better way to do your original project.

Avoid those lines of thinking. There is nothing worse in home renovation than a half-finished project. And if you try to change your project to accommodate your new interests, the end result will be a bizarre amalgamation which will appeal to no one. Make a plan, stick to the plan, and do not get distracted by other potential renovation plans until you are finished with the first project.

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Featured photo credit: Mike Seyfang via flic.kr

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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