Set your home improvement expectations

4 min read

Home improvement expectations vary by project and by person. And by personality. You may think you have a concrete idea of what you want to change at your home, but likely you have no clue just how many material and design options exist in that big home improvement world.

Whether you idea shop on a site like, or you decide to go the route of a Design/Build/Remodel designer, there are some important points to consider. And unless you're going to do the entire project yourself, you'll be hiring professionals to do some or all of the project. So, where do you start?> How do you find a complete stranger who you can trust in your home and who actually knows what he or she is doing? Before you even start typing "g-o-o-g...." I want you to consider a couple important aspects of your remodeling project. These are five important tips to help set your home improvement expectations:
  • Working with a contractor is a relationship. If this works well, you are about to turn a perfect stranger into a perfect friend. He or she is going to be in your home, they're going to know your pets, your kids, and you. As much as you may love their design ideas, you also have to feel comfortable with them.
  • Personality: How familiar your relationship is with the Pro needs to be established up front. If you're quiet, shy, and not gregarious--make sure you pick a similar personality type in your handyman. This sounds like a small point now, but based on experience, it can become a major sticking point later.
  • Never pay in cash. And if a handyman suggests this, show him or her the door immediately. It means they're trying to hide something.
  • Never pay more than 20% up front. And never pay the bill in full until you are completely satisfied.
  • Change orders aren't free. If you make changes to the original plan you are going to pay for it dearly. Make sure you've made your mind up on the size and scope before the project is started and then stick to it.
Few of us have the skills or the time to tackle a major home improvement project. And, few of us are made out of money. By taking time to set your home improvement expectations you're increasing the odds of being happy with the outcome.