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Pro Advice

red flags

What are red flags for home professionals?

Hiring a professional to work in your house is a touchy thing. You want to get the best work for your dollar, but not all of the “professionals” out there will give you the kind of quality work you’re looking for, or even be honest about how much it will cost you in the end. To help homeowners figure out how to tell the true professionals from the scam artists, we turned to our home industry experts to find out what the red flags are for the home expert industry. Here’s a list of the biggest red flags they pointed …

cut costs

How can you cut costs without compromising quality?

Whether you’re building a home from scratch or planning a remodel, doing home improvement or construction work can get costly very quickly. It’s unsurprising, then, that homeowners are always looking for ways to save money and cut down on their budget. However, there are many aspects of a construction budget that should never be compromised, and too often homeowners settle for shoddy work because of a savings opportunity. How can you cut back on your cost without compromising quality or, more importantly, safety? Our home experts have some suggestions for where you can save money. Get Professional Advice It may …

refuse project3

When should you refuse a project?

When you work in a service industry, you often find yourself at the mercy of your clients’ whims. Many homeowners do research into what trends are popular and what options are available to them beforehand, and sometimes they have bad information and want something that is either impractical or unsafe. Dealing with a situation where a customer wants you to circumvent the rules for a project can be a tricky, delicate process, and it’s a tough situation for both the homeowner who isn’t getting what he or she wanted, and for the professional who might even have to walk away …

resources3

What resources do home improvement professionals use?

Even the most practiced professional sometimes runs into a new problem he or she doesn’t know how to handle, or encounters a situation where they need help. Whether it’s just learning how to do a new kind of installation or needing a specific specialty item to do work that you aren’t familiar with, knowing where to turn when you’re in a little over your head is part of the job. There are lots of different places to turn when you need advice or assistance, but not all resources are created equal. That’s why we asked our home industry experts where …

mistakes

What mistakes have you made and learned from?

It would be nice if you could do things perfectly all the time, but nobody is perfect. Whether you like it or not, mistakes are a part of every industry–and that’s actually a good thing. Mistakes are how you know that you are pushing yourself and learning new things, and they present an opportunity to improve the way you run your business. So long as you approach them with the correct attitude, mistakes aren’t a problem at all. We asked our experts to share some of the things they’ve learned from making mistakes over the years, and their advice for …

preventing pests

What are the most problematic pests?

A pest infestation is just about the worst thing that can happen to disrupt your life. Once the creepy critters move in, you start to feel unwelcome in your own home. There are lots of options on the market for getting rid of pests, including pesticides and traps, but most of them are dangerous to administer without proper training. In fact, according to the National Pesticide Information Center, in 2011 there were 2,533 reported incidents of pesticide poisoning in the US. Infestations should always be addressed by a pest control professional. But that doesn’t mean you can’t defend your home …

diy

To DIY or not to DIY?

For the price-conscious homeowner, DIY might seem like a great way to save yourself some money on home improvement and repair projects. After all, professional repairs can sometimes seem prohibitively expensive, and the cost of professional repairs around the house can add up quickly. It’s easy to see why some homeowners are tempted to attempt repairs themselves. However, there is a reason that professionals exist, and there are many situations in which DIY should never be attempted. You could end up costing yourself more in the long run, or permanently damaging yourself or your home. With help from our experts, …

historic home

What challenges do historic homeowners face?

For many people, owning a historic home is a dream come true. The classic style and old-world charm attracts homeowners all across the country, ready to get their hands dirty rebuilding that Victorian-style beauty on the corner or that old west-style ranch across town. But many historic homeowners quickly discover that owning a historic home is much more complicated than you might think. From zoning regulations and historical society rules to structural damage, old homes can really throw you for a spin. How can you be sure you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew? We asked our experts …

Home Hazards

Caution! Home Health Invaders

Keeping your home safe and secure is the most important priority as a homeowner. But sometimes, it’s hard to know that you are even being exposed to harm. From toxins in the air to mold in your walls, there are lots of threats to your home’s health that you can’t even see. To help ensure that we know how to keep our home free of these hard-to-see invaders, we asked our home improvement experts for some tips. With their help and our own research, we created the infographic below to help guide you towards a safer, healthier home. Our Home …

home security

Do home security systems really protect your home?

Many breeds of home security systems have emerged over the years. They range from motion detectors that can easily be installed by a weekend DIY warrior to professional systems that require trained specialists for installation and monitoring. Even more, some systems allow the homeowner to monitor their home from afar via their cell phone. All of these options are appearing for good reason. According to the The Chicago Tribune, 80 percent of homeowners with alarms rated their systems as effective in protecting their homes. But with so many options readily available, choosing an effective security system becomes all the more …