It’s hard to believe that we are already into March. Sunny days are upon us and that usually means getting to all those home improvement jobs leftover from last spring/summer. Home improvement is a great way to increase your property values. In addition, adding new features and amenities or simple routine maintenance can positively impact your living conditions.
There are always plenty of projects to tackle around the house. The question is: Which projects will qualify as “home improvement” for tax purposes? The IRS doesn’t specifically outline what qualifies as home improvement. They do provide a list of examples, however, of projects that you might want to focus on.
Safety is paramount when doing home improvement especially for do-it yourselfers. Nothing could be worse than having to deal with someone getting injured working on your property or you sustaining an injury trying to be Mr./Ms. Fix-It. You will also want to be sure to plan your project out. Things done right the first time do not have to be done a second or third time.
Below is a home improvement “Things To Remember List” that will help you prepare for the coming home maintenance season. Start planning your projects out now so that you are ahead of the curve when spring and summer come around.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #10 – Have the proper permits.
As with nearly everything else in life, you will need to get permission before beginning any major construction on your home. Building permits are usually handled through your local city or county government and will generally have a fee attached. Fortunately, only bigger home addition projects (i.e. an addition to the garage, a deck/patio, or an additional bedroom) and major landscaping projects (i.e. sidewalk and driveway repair) require permits. Nearly all other home improvements on the IRS list will not require a permit.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #9 – Have the right tool for the job.
There are few things worse than getting excited and psyched to complete a home improvement project only to find that you don’t actually have all the tools you need for the job. Tools get misplaced, borrowed, and lost all the time. A tool cabinet can resolve the problem of lost and misplaced tools. This would be a small and wise investment compared to the money wasted replacing those items. Be sure to locate or purchase the tools needed for a project in advance to avoid such frustration.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #8 – Prep the work area.
Before starting any home improvements you will want to prep the work area. Carpets or flooring that you want to protect should be covered with a paint cloth, tarp, or any other kind of covering that will not leak through or impede movement in the work area. If possible bring all of your tools to the same area as well. Having everything in the same place will save you energy in the long run.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #7 – Save your pennies so you can buy quality products.
So maybe there is something worse than not having the right tool for the job. It is so much better to work with the best products available. Make the project worth your time by investing in solutions that actually work and will last for as long as you need or want them to.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #6 – Pick the right project for you.
There is no point in starting a project that you are unable to complete and/or don’t have the budget for. If your time is limited, focus on projects that can be completed in one or two days over a weekend. If it helps you may want to schedule your project so that you truly commit yourself to getting it done. Folks on limited budgets should scale back their plans and focus on smaller projects. New windows and doors, a home automation system, an alarm system, new flooring, garage cabinet systems, and other built in appliances can be less expensive ways of improving your home.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #5 – Take the proper safety precautions.
As previously stated, safety is very important when working in, around, or on your home. You will definitely want to have proper face masking when dealing with things like paint, lacquer, primer, stains, etc. Protective eyewear should also be considered when working on any project but especially with power tools and harmful chemicals.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #4 – Find out what home improvement projects the neighbors are doing.
Collaborating with neighbors on projects can have many benefits. If any of your neighbors are working on similar areas of their homes, you may be able to pool resources (i.e. tools, supplies). Offer to assist your neighbors with their projects in exchange for assistance with yours. It may be appropriate to advise your neighbors of any major home improvement plans that you have planned. Warn the neighbors about noise that might occur because of a project and the anticipated start and stop time.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #3 – Measure Twice, Cut Once.
This adage may be aged and over used but the truth of it still holds today. Taking a wrong measurement can leave your home improvement project spiraling. It is definitely better to measure correctly the first time to avoid such a catastrophe.
Home Improvement Thing To Remember #2 – Ladder Safety
You will most certainly want to make sure that your ladder is tall enough for whatever project you pick. It is dangerous and ill advised to exert one’s self past the limitations of the ladder. You may also want to recruit a “spotter” or someone to hold the ladder as you climb it. Remember, your safety and the safety of those assisting you or around the work area is most important.
And finally Home Improvement Thing To Remember #1 – Know when to ask for help.
Too often we get in over our heads when it comes to home improvement. We pick a project that should probably be left to professionals and end up making a bigger mess, getting stuck, or taking something beyond repair. If you happen to know what you are doing and are confident enough in your abilities then go for it! Have fun and be safe!
We love the spring cleaning/remodeling season here at RedLine Garageegar. It also happens to be the perfect time to clean out and organize the garage. Good luck with all your projects this season!