The Money Pit?
Posted by joyinhome on June 21, 2010
Home ownership and real estate are said to be mandatory and key assets in your personal financial portfolio, especially for women. As a single woman and homeowner, I began this journey in my twenties and it has been INTERESTING. Early on, I had some not-so-positive results from various contractors. The good news? I learned along the way, received on- the-job-training, if you will.
A decade later, I am ready for some home improvement projects and am a bit wiser. A close friend recently purchased property here in DC after re-locating back after about ten years. He affectionately refers to his home as “The Money Pit.” The term makes me shudder, but I get where he’s coming from. He has had some great results thus far- some of them more painful than others- but I have been inspired; especially by his wife who has served as foreman for the projects.
With that said, I am excited yet hesitant. Is a contractor going to give me a fair shake as a single woman? Will I luck up with a company that takes pride in its work with a good work ethic to boot?
A few basic tips for you…
- Get at least three bids.: Even for “small” projects, this is still an investment into perhaps your biggest asset.
- Get referrals and recommendations.: Talk to your homeowner friends, neighbors and co-workers for good contractors, if possible. If not, try this resource – ServiceMagic. I stumbled across it years ago in some sort of mailed promo or advertisement and have used it a few times to get bids. They are a portal that offers pre-screened, licensed contractors for almost any service you can think of, with ratings. You can submit inquiries for estimates right there on the spot. There may be some other sites/services like this; please let us know if you know of any.
- Do your research.: Know what you want. Know the materials, lingo and techniques/processes required for the project. Since home improvement is “sexy” now, so many of the networks have web sites for do-it-yourselfers: check out DIY, TLC, HGTV or my fav, This Old House (I have at least a year’s worth of this magazine at home waiting for me to dive in and absorb).
- Trust yourself and your gut.: As a business person or student of life, you know when someone is yanking your chain. Call them on it and be firm- you have nothing to lose, they do.
With that said, I am pressing forward with my projects. It is a daunting task, but the end result will be well worth it. AND, I will have some contractors that I can recommend… if you live in the DC- metro area.
Happy Home Development!