Angie's List | Get your house in order for 2014

Homeowner Jon Weaver says, “We decided to redo our kitchen because our house has now gotten to the point where some of the items in it are outdated, but we haven’t out grown it yet so we decided to make it a little bit nicer while we are still here.”

There are multiple projects underway at Jon Weaver's home.

“So far we have replaced all the appliances to make them stainless steel we have redone our cabinets and added some crown molding and we have redone the floors," Jon continues.

For most of us, our homes are one of the biggest investments we’ll make – so we want to take care of it.

Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks doesn’t want you to be surprised by emergency home repairs this year.

That’s why she’s calling on homeowners like you to take the Angie’s List Pledge to get their houses in order in 2014.

Angie explains, “My goal is not to add more work to everyone’s schedule. The key here is to do an assessment. Walk around your house like you are getting ready to buy the house and make a list of the things that need to be fixed. You should be able to do this in an hour or two, but it will save you a lot of time, headache and money down the road.”

Because that’s much easier said than done, Angie is providing free and useful tools to help homeowners keep their pledge. The pledge and its information are free and available to all consumers – not just Angie’s List members.

“I know I’m not alone. I don’t like to be surprised and I’m sure many of you don’t either. That’s why I’m asking people to take the Angie’s List Pledge because it will allow you to access what needs to be done around your house, which is going to save you money in the long run and hopefully avoid an unexpected expense partway through the year," Angie says.

Many homeowners put off projects because they simply don’t know where to start and they worry about lack of time and money. But making a list of what’s important to you can get you on the right track. Write down everything that needs to be fixed, needs updated, and even add the things from your wish list then prioritize your items so you’re not surprised.

Jeff Flora, a handyman, says don’t neglect the little things because they can lead to costly repairs.

Jeff says, “It might be a minor thing. It might be a major thing but it’s always a good idea to call somebody that has a little bit of experience because experience matters and they can take a look at it ascertain whether it’s going to be a big problem or a small problem.”

“I walk into a house and anything that stands out to me, my eyes are going to go to it and I’ll see it. A crack in the ceiling or water stain or whatever. It just stands out to me," adds Jeff.

Jeff continues, “I would say neglecting those little things. They can lead to some costly repairs. I’ve done work for folks where their basements have flooded or they have a persistent water problem behind the walls in the basement and you end up having to take out all the wall boards, paneling, whatever. And nine times out of ten in a crawl space or basement where it’s wet a lot – it’s the downspouts on the sides that are draining next to the foundation and getting into the basement or crawl space."

So far, the most popular projects planned include basement, bathroom and kitchen updates, along with painting and carpet cleaning or replacement.

Consider how much available you have to spend and start with projects that you can afford. Make sure the money you spend will add value to your home.

Here are 3 guidelines to get you started:

  • Planning: Walk around your house and observe the shape of your house inside and out. Take a look at your home as if you were buying it.
  • Budgeting: Consider how much available you have to spend and start with projects that you can afford. Make sure the money you spend will add value to your home.
  • Executing: Timing is key in projects. Make sure you factor in what season you’ll be doing the work or what time of year may be the best time to get on a contractor’s schedule if you’re hiring out the project.

Once you have your list of projects in hand, consider these 10 factors:

  1. Start Small: Tackle the smaller jobs first because you’ll more likely finish the project.
  2. Wants vs. needs: Make a list of projects that “need” to get done. Finish those first, then move on to your “wants”.
  3. Safety concerns: Handle any projects that could affect your family’s safety. Do you have water damage or faulty plumbing? Leaking water should be a priority because it could cause structural problems down the road. Also, check to make sure your smoke alarms are working and childproof your home.
  4. Upgrades: Perform projects that reduce energy and water consumption. This will save you money in the long run.
  5. Small tasks, big rewards: Make easy, low-cost improvements that can offer significant results such as painting a room, or changing a light fixture.
  6. Tedious Jobs: Polish off repairs that have been a nuisance, or that you have been putting
    1. off such as that squeaky floor and leaky faucet.
    2. Pest Control: Check for the insect kind or the small furry ones. Sealing your home and lawn against pests in an important home maintenance item.
    3. Cosmetic: Fix that hole in the wall, repair molding, or add a splash of color to your walls.
    4. Curb Appeal: Improvements to the home’s exterior will make it more inviting. Get a new front door or spruce up the landscaping.
    5. Stay positive: Don’t get discouraged. Just remember not to get too overwhelmed or you’ll never see the project through. At the end of the year, you’ll have a lot to look back on.

    Just remember not to get too overwhelmed or you’ll never see the project through.

    The Angie’s List Pledge is easy. Step one is taking the pledge to commit two hours to inspecting your home and identifying its problem areas. Step two is putting together a list of what projects to tackle first. If you don’t know where to start, Angie’s List offers a downloadable pledge checklist .




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