The spring season is when local homeowners should seek out contractors who can turn their dream homes into reality through the process of remodeling, according to the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area's leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for more than 48 years. To commemorate May as National Home Improvement Month, Milwaukee/NARI offers homeowners a few words of advice for planning their remodels early.
“It’s never too early to begin the planning stage of a remodeling project,” said Diane Ausavich, CR, Milwaukee/NARI President with Carl Krueger Construction, Inc. in Milwaukee. “This will help set budgets and scope of work to be done once the homeowner is ready to start the project.”
Milwaukee/NARI members recommend not waiting until summer to start thinking about making changes to the home. Finding the right design, choosing a professional contractor, and securing the necessary financing for a home improvement project can sometimes take months.
“There are benefits to remodeling versus buying new. You know your home, you like the neighborhood, you like the school district, and you can stay with the things that are familiar and comfortable for you,” Ausavich said. With homeowners spending more time at home, demand for home improvements has increased.
“Some contractors may be booked far in advance, and it will take a while to develop a comfortable working relationship with a contractor you want to use,” she said.
Milwaukee/NARI suggests that homeowners who want to start a project by summer start planning now, and recommends the following steps to help kick-start the process:
• Think the project through from start to finish. Careful planning of home improvement projects allow for updating the home, increasing the value of the investment, and customizing living space – all for a lot less than the cost of a new home.
• Look over the property carefully. What repairs are needed? What improvements could be made? Think ahead and determine future needs. Professional remodeling contractors can help planning by outlining options and discussing the improvements that can be made within a budget. “Have a ‘ballpark’ idea of a budget or at least a number you can’t go over,” Ausavich said.
• Be sure to review homeowner's insurance policy and make adjustments for the added value of the work being done.
• “Get out your Milwaukee/NARI member directory,” she added. “If possible, attend a Milwaukee/NARI home show to talk to multiple contractors in one place.”
Most homeowners can handle routine maintenance projects and cosmetic touch-ups, but it's recommended they consult with qualified professionals for larger remodeling jobs and major changes to the home's structure.
As of April 22, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed new regulations for contractors working in homes built before 1978. The Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule mandates that Remodelers who intend to work in pre-1978 homes to register their company and complete an eight-hour training and certification course with an accredited trainer. The course teaches Remodelers how to safely contain lead in a home as it is being disturbed and reduce exposure to residents and workers.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council's goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry's growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 900 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation's largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call (414) 771-4071 or visit the Council’s Web site at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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