HelpMeFixHome.com Monthly Newsletter
March 2017 Newsletter
Included in this Month’s Newsletter is the following:
1. Tips for Assessing, Evaluating, and Planning This Years Home Projects
March is a great time of year to start planning the Home Repair and Maintenance Projects that you wish to undertake during the coming year. For many, it is still too cold outside to do many Outside Projects, so there should be some additional time to Assess, Evaluate, and Plan for the year. Once the weather breaks, and the Spring warm up starts, things will usually begin to get much busier.
Plans will be made for Landscape changes, BBQs, possible Graduation parties, or many other outside events. Our chores and Projects multiply, because the Inside Projects do not go away, they just sometimes take a back seat to the Outside Projects. There is much more to do, places to go, people to see, and many more choices on how to spend the available Time.
For some, it will also be a time when extra funds may become available due to Income Tax refunds. Deciding whether to spend these additional funds on vacations or Home Projects will be debated amongst family members. Making smart choices will benefit all in the long run. It all will boil down to priorities. The needs of the many will usually outweigh the needs of the few.
The following are some Tips on how best to plan the year ahead:
1. Tips for Assessing, Evaluating, and Planning This Years Home Projects
Tip 1: Assess Your Home and Property
Begin on a nice sunny day, taking your clipboard, some scratch paper, and a pencil, and start with the inspection of the outside of your Home. Your first heading should be: Outside Home, or something similar.
Check the outside of your Home from top to bottom. Look at the condition of your chimney, vent stacks, flashing, roof shingles, trim, gutters, soffit, fascia, siding, windows, doors, and foundation. This may require you to get a ladder and physically walk your roof, in order to adequately inspect the areas. Be extra careful when doing this, and always have an assistant to stabilize the ladder and be near by should an accident occur. List any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of those areas.
Your next heading can be: Driveway and Sidewalks. Check for cracks, settling, and pitting. Note any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of those areas.
The next heading will be: Outside Structures, which will include: detached garages, sheds, pergolas, decks, etc. Check these structures as you did for your Home. Note any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of these areas.
The final outside heading will be: Landscape. Begin by checking the condition of any ‘hardscapes’ that you may have, such as: patios, walks, retention walls, etc. Then, closely inspect all your plantings. List any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of those areas.
After your outside has been assessed, it is time to move back indoors. Each heading for the Indoors will be the name of each room. This will also include any hallways, foyers, attics, and attached garages. If you have a multi-level Home, begin at the top and work your way down. Start with the attic. Check for any mold, insulation needs, attic fans, etc. Check the roofing plywood for any signs of water damage. List any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of these areas.
Then, continuing on the upper level of your Home, list each heading for the room that you are assessing. Inspect each room from top to bottom, beginning with the ceiling, beams, ceiling fans, and crown molding. Move down to the walls, checking for wallboard repairs, painting needs, windows, doors, and moldings. Make note of any known electrical and plumbing issues in each room, such as wwitches, receptacles, leaks, old faucets, etc. Finally, inspect the flooring. Make note of any floor sagging, weak spots, and squeaks. List any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of those areas. Do this for each room on the upper level of your Home.
When the top floor has been completed, move down to the next level and repeat the process. Mark your heading according to levels and rooms. If you have multiple bathrooms for example, make sure that your heading either adequately identifies each by a number, name, or floor level where they are located. Note any repairs or replacements that need to be made in any of these areas.
Lastly, check any attached garage. Inspect the ceiling as you did for your Home’s attic, and complete the rest of your inspection of the garage as you have done for all the other areas of your home. Note any repairs or replacements that need to be made in this area.
Once your Home has been thoroughly inspected, it is time to form a plan for repairs.
Tip 2: Prioritize Your Projects
Once you have your list of needed repairs, along with any desires that may not be needed, but rather are wanted, you should Prioritize Your Projects. A good way to do this is to divide the list into the following (3) categories, placing the correct category number with a circle around it, in front of each needed repair:
1. Must Do – These are any Projects that need to be done in order to avoid further damage to your Home. These would be things like: roof repairs, electrical issues, plumbing leaks, sinking driveway or walks that lean toward your foundation, sagging or water stained ceilings, termites, mold, carpenter ants, cracked foundation or other structural Issues.
2. Should Do – These are Projects that would include: faded and/or peeling paint, cracked and/or discolored molding, dirty ceiling and/or walls, cracked driveway or sidewalks (that do not lean toward your Home), etc. Any Project that should be done in order to correct a major eye sore, but nothing that would compromise or cause more damage to your home if it was not completed at this time.
3. Might Do – These would be ‘like to have’ Projects, that may include: updating the kitchen or bathrooms, new ceiling fans and/or switch plates, and other projects that do not really have to be done, but would be nice if they were.
Go through your inspection sheets, and assign a number (1 to 3) to each of the needed repairs, based on the above categories. Place the number with a circle around it, in front of each repair.
Then, on another sheet of paper, copy your #1 repairs into a list. Cross them off of your inspection sheet as you go. Do the same for your #2 repairs on a separate sheet of paper. Head the sheets: Must Do and Should Do respectively. The remaining Projects are your #3 category: the Might Do Projects. You can either make a separate list of these, or rename your header on your inspection sheet.
Tip 3: Assess Your Funds and Estimate Project Costs
After you have done your inspection and created your Project lists, it is time to Assess Your Available Funds and Estimate the Costs of the Projects included on your lists. Begin by roughly assessing your current available funds that you could use for Home Repair Projects. On a separate sheet of paper, under the heading: Available Funds, first, list those that you currently have on hand that could be used from your checking and savings accounts, along with any Income Tax Refund, whether received yet or not. Call these: #1 Funds.
Next, list other choices for Available Funds, along with amount available, including: credit cards, home equity loans, and other personal loans. You can call these: #2 Funds.
These should only be used if absolutely necessary, since most if not all will contain some type of Interest that will be compounded on to the original loan amounts. It is rarely a good idea to use these types of funds to complete Projects from your #3 list, the ‘like to have’ Projects. While instant gratification is wonderful, down the road, it may be something that you will regret.
Unless this is merely a short term fix, and you will be able to pay these types of loans off quickly, it is best to avoid using these types of funds for anything other than your items on your #1 and #2 lists. More times than not, you will come to regret using loans to do Projects that just really did not need to be done at this time.
After your available funds have been determined, it is time to Estimate your Project Costs on at least your items from your #1 list. If there is any funds left, you can then continue on to list #2, and then to list #3.
If you are doing the work yourself, then you will need to create a Materials & Tools Needed sheet for each Project. See my page on: 5 Steps for Project Management and complete Steps 1, 2, & 3 for each of your Projects. You will go on to complete the remaining Steps on that page after you have made some decisions.
If you are not doing the work yourself, and will be hiring a Contractor or Handyperson to complete some or all of your Projects, you should consider using one of the following sites:
- ProReferral.com (operated by Home Depot)
Each of these sites uses a vetting process for their Contractors, along with reviews about their past work. It is always good to get at least (3) estimates before choosing a Contractor or Handyperson. Make your choice based on their: estimates, their personality, and their reviews. Always ask to see photos and reviews from some or their recent, past clients and jobs.
You can also consult the Free Reports that I sent you when you signed up for my: Monthly Newsletter. There will information found on hiring, as well as the importance for contracts, guarantees, and other info.
Tip 4: Planning Your Projects
Now that you have assessed your needs and your funds, as well as have a cost estimate for the needed Projects, it is time to schedule your plan of attack. Certain Projects, such as: roofing, windows, doors, outside painting, etc. will have some weather constraints. Plan accordingly.
You will also need to assess the skills needed for completing each Project, along with assessing your own skills, or those of the individuals that you intend to hire. If you need to improve your own skills, there are many good books, dvds, and e-books that are found on: Amazon.com
In addition, if you are doing the work yourself, you will need to assess the Tools Needed for each project, and include them in each of your Project’s cost analysis. Then, you will need to determine the amount of time needed in order to complete each Project, and analyze your available time to see if it is feasible for you to tackle. Sometimes, after adding up all of the information, you may find that some Projects are just better left to the Professionals. Do what you can comfortably handle, and hire out the remaining Projects. It will be best in the long run.
That is all that I have for you at this time. If you ever have any Questions or Concerns, please feel free to Contact Me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I will happy to answer any that you might have.
Best of Luck in All of Your Projects!