The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason(s) many states have fallen considerably short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicant demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you don’t have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let’s be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to “qualify” to do home improvement work, brings many a “character” to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, seemed to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consisted of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that dealt with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, “If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them!!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you’ll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place.” As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works or there is no money for more regulations (testing). I have been hearing this for 30 years. The county in which I live (Suffolk County, New York) still does not require any demonstration of home improvement ability to obtain a home improvement license. The fee has consistently gone up but the requirements have pretty much stayed the same. We are one of the highest taxed counties in the country, so I refuse to believe there is no money to develop and implement a better policing and screening process in the home improvement industry.

The National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI) http://www.nari.org is the only national organization that offers certification of home improvement individuals. They have a number of different certifications that one could obtain. To obtain these certifications the applicant needs to demonstrate a variety of knowledge, ranging from good business practices to project knowledge. NARI’s main certification is called – Certified Remodeler (CR). This certification requires the applicant to prepare an extensive matrix or resume of their experience and knowledge as well as obtaining a certain score on an 8-hour exam. There are only approximately 1000 CR’s, out of the hundreds of thousands of home improvement contractors in this country. I earned this certification in 1994 and still proudly hold this certification today. I will admit that obtaining this certification is a time consuming process and does take considerable effort, but it was well worth it. What I also like about this certification is that it has to be renewed every year by demonstrating continued involvement and knowledge in the home improvement industry.

Why then couldn’t Washington mandate some type of screening, nationwide, that all people interested in doing home improvements must be able to “pass” to obtain a license? This license could be used nationwide. Use a screening process that emulates what NARI does for its certifications. You could make the screening as simple as a comprehensive test with multiple choice questions. A test that could be machine scored.

I think an ideal situation for licensing would be to divide up home improvement licensing into sub-licenses. For example, if you were a bathroom contractor you would obtain a license for bathroom home improvements only. This would refine what licensees are qualified to do, rather then issuing one license that could wrongly give the impression that the licensee is capable of doing any type of project.

The reason I think Washington needs to get involved with this problem is because the American public doesn’t have the time to wait for each of the 50 states to come up with a similar solution, individually.

However, if Washington were to step up and mandate a national screening and testing situation, you would still have to address the screening of the people who show up to work on your house. (if they were not the person(s) who was screened and licensed) These people would hopefully be employees of the person who was screened. Is the homeowner then back to square one with not knowing the qualifications of the people working on their house? I tend to think not, because the person who went through the screening and obtained the license would want to keep the license. It is in the best interest of the licensed individual to make sure the project is done correctly. Problems develop when a contractor has too much work and attempts to get it all done by using inexperienced and unqualified help. The lure of completing more work and making more money sometimes leads to his or her business getting “out of control”. This subsequently leads to quality and project completion problems. Employees of licensed and screened contractors need to “qualify” on some level similar to NARI’s lead carpenter certification.

Will any of these desperately needed changes occur any time soon? To be honest, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Washington to step up to the plate and I don’t think your state or local governments will dramatically improve home improvement regulations either.

So what should a homeowner do to protect their home and property? Get the right “tools” and knowledge to be able to protect your home from poor home improvement decisions and situations.

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM) (http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com) can give you all the right knowledge and “tools” you need, without spending hours and hours doing research and trying to figure out what to do. This club has a variety of forums (chat room, message board, phone consultations and project estimate-contract evaluations) to answer your questions about how to get great home improvement results. Membership to this club also includes the use of The Home Improvement Success System, which is a step by step home improvement system that shows you exactly what to do and what not to do. This system can be used with any project. The club also includes a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not delighted with being a club member.

If you’re serious about doing a home improvement project and protecting your home, then join The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM). You will be happy you did!

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com//>

e-mail-info@homeimprovementsuccess.com
P.O. Box 653
Smithtown, NY 11787
Phone: 631-360-7722
Fax: 631-361-3582

By Hank Jaworowski, CR
Founder and President of The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
Author-The Home Improvement Success System

Secured Loans For Home Improvement – When You Can’t Buy A Luxury Home

A house is just perfect with chipped walls and broken taps. Is it? If you don’t think so, then home improvement loans is what you should be looking for. Home improvement is the resort for you, if your home is your personal hideout. Home improvement loans can aid you realize this plan. Home improvement usually takes a back seat due to lack of finances. If finances are an impediment, get secured home improvement loans. Secured loans for home improvement are a way of increasing home equity which is one of the most important added benefits. This implies not only your home will be comfortable but also its market cost is increased.

The thought process while taking loans is almost always diverted towards lower interest rates. Lower interest rates are very often the prime criteria of settling on a loan. But you must know that lower interest rates are not offered to anyone and everyone. The most obvious reason for lower interest rate being offered to you will be the fact that you are the homeowner. Secured home improvement loans are protected on borrower’s property and are dependent on the equity of the property. The property or home acts as the security for the loan and will therefore mean you have to give lower interest rates.

APR is the one that gives you a general idea of what your secured home improvement loan will cost. Go to the local bank and building society to get a general idea of the loans rates. You can also get an idea of loan rates on Google. Type “home improvement loans comparison” and it will provide you with the best deals immediately. Your loan lender is the one who will give you a good idea about what will be the total cost of repayment. Look out for hidden costs while settling down on secured loans for home improvement.

The secured home improvement loan rate is usually fixed and would vary from lender to lender. So browsing through the net would perhaps lead you to the better loan rate than the ones you closed on. Interest rates are negotiable for they are quite dependent on individual circumstances. The actual deal on secured loans for home improvement depend upon credit history, salary, age, joint or single application, collateral, amount to be borrowed and length of payback period.

The loan amount on Secured home improvement loans [http://www.easyfinance4u.com/secured_home_improvement_loans.html] vary according to the property type. A single family house would guarantee maximum £25,000 to £75,000 as loan amount. Don’t take more than you require on a secured home improvement loan. Don’t over improve your home for it might be difficult to recover the cost of improvement if the price tag of your house shows more than other houses in the locality. The loan term on secured loans for home improvement are very easily anywhere between 2 to 25 years.

Secured loans for home improvement can be made available at the time you are buying the house. This will work very smoothly in case your mortgage and home improvement loan do not overflow your available equity mark. Any kind of big or small improvements can be financed. Secured home improvement loans can be used for repairs, home extensions like, new conservatory, heating system, new kitchen and site improvements.

A secured loan for home improvement that is less than £25,000 can be called off within a week with no obligation under the 1974 Consumer Credit Act. You can take payment protection to protect your payment against any change of circumstance. If you do not opt for payment protection and find you can’t pay your monthly payments then discuss your situation with your lender. However, a secured home improvement loan does put your property at risk in situation of non repayment.

Home décor are oft quoted with high rates. This is usually the reason for putting off home improvement. Living in a house that needs repairs is not always a pleasant situation. You can’t be put them off and financial aid required is difficult to unearth. So, home improvement becomes a very irresolute condition. Make home improvement a win-win situation. How? – By taking secured home improvement loans. Chipped walls are falling and broken taps are leaking. They are doing this for a purpose – they want to be repaired. Repair them with secured home improvement loans.

Home Improvement Loans – Transforming Brick and Mortar

There is no courage in living an existence where you are constantly dissatisfied. Accepting your current resident as package you can’t exchange is a myth. On the contrary it is true that not everyone has available money to finance home improvement. Home improvement loans enable every resident to own and construct the house that is home in the real sense of the term.

While looking for Home improvement loans the first thing you concentrate on is interest rates. Borrowers must look for low fixed interest rates. The advertised rates may or may not be low rates for your profile. You will learn that interest rates are a personalized concept. Interest rates for home improvement loans are primarily dependent on whether you offer a security for the loan or not.

Consequently, home improvement loans are either secured or unsecured. Secured entail collateral. On the other hand unsecured home improvement loans get approved without security. Both loan types come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Secured loans for home improvement is ideal for raising large amounts (£25,000-£75,000 or above) at low interest rates and flexible terms. Home improvement loans that are secured come with downside of losing your property in case of failure in repayment.

Unsecured home improvement loans will be best for small amounts. There is no obvious downside except that your credit ratings will suffer if you cannot repay. However, the lender can get back his money through legal process which will ultimately put your property under risk. Why get into such complications – just payback the loan!

No matter what you apply for first take account of the cost. Make a list of all the material required for home improvement and their cost. This will help you in assessing the loan amount you should be applying for. The contractor is paid the money for home improvement and then the lender takes to which the borrower makes monthly installments.

It is going to be worth it to spend time in searching for home improvement loans. Your effort will be rewarded in the form of better interest rates and terms. Use considerable time of your search in home improvement loans comparison. You can use home improvement loan calculator to calculate monthly installments. You fill in few of your details, your income, the amount required and there you get a quote which gives the approximate cost of home improvement loans for you. The quote for is free on most of the sites. Your information remains confidential with no obligation to apply. Use APR while comparing loans. This is because annual percentage rate or APR takes into account closing costs, origination points, discount points and insurance. That is ideally the way to compare home improvement loans.

Don’t mistake home improvement loans for long term loans. Try to wind up home improvement loans within 5-10 years. A 30 year mortgage for home improvement is not advisable. However, if you already have a thirty year mortgage then you can make additional payments and achieve the same result. Does that sound confusing? All that is implied here is weigh your options and find the one that suits you.

And in case you did not know there are home improvement loans for bad credit also. Start from your credit report, know your credit score, shop for options and apply for bad credit home improvement loans. Bad credit home improvement loans will have high interest rates; therefore, think realistically about what you can get.

This year £40 billion pounds is expected to be spend on home improvement. These include simple home repairs and large scale remodeling and major restructuring. Chances are you have caught the home improvement bug. If this is so make improvements that pay off. The loans that you have taken for home improvement should target both adding value to your home and comfort. Invest home improvement loans in enabling them to reach achieve the standard of neighbouring homes. Every home improvement that you opt for should have positive impact.

Do the air conditioning system and the shutters and the conservatory look all the more desirable? Then what are you waiting for? This season go for home improvement loans.

The Home Improvement Nightmare-Who’s To Blame and How To Avoid It

Unless you live in a remote part of the country with no television, newspaper or other people to talk to, there is a good chance you have heard or read about a home improvement scam or project gone wrong. It seems to be a fact in this country that when you go about doing a home improvement project you will usually encounter countless problems, delays and shoddy work.

The home improvement experience leaves most people stressed and vowing never to do another project again! So it is not surprising to hear that home improvement complaints rank at the top of consumer complaints nationwide year after year. Where does the blame fall for this epidemic of home improvement problems?

I am proud to say I was a home improvement contractor for almost 30 years and I was fortunate enough to win some of the industry’s highest awards. However, it has never ceased to amaze me the poor home improvement decisions that I have seen so many homeowners make. One of the more notable mistakes I would see done over and over again was when a homeowner would blindly hire someone to do a project because the person was a friend or a friend of a friend. To me this reasoning makes no sense.

Friendship and craftsmanship are not related, but for some reason a lot of people believe other wise. Another great example of homeowner apathy is hiring someone to do a project without ever putting anything in writing. Who in their right mind would ever agree to such a disastrous situation? Another very similar blunder would be for a homeowner to blindly accept an estimate on the back of a business card. Usually the only information that has room on the back of a business card is the PRICE.

A major mistake made by many people doing a home improvement project is letting price dictate the decision on who to hire. More problems occur because homeowners pick the lowest price they can find. Why? It is very simple. You can only produce a high quality project at a certain cost. High quality materials, expert labor, appropriate insurances and a reasonable profit to stay in business, cost a certain amount of money.

If someone can do that same project under that amount, what do you think is going to happen when the job is being done? That’s right, the person or company is going to do anything they can to try and make a profit. All of the possibilities that could result from the person you hired, as the low bidder, trying to make a profit, are simply all BAD for the homeowner. In home improvements you get exactly what you pay for.

Let’s not forget to put some of the blame on people looking to work on your home. Over the years I have seen some of my competitors commit heinous business practices. (Surprise!!) I have seen contractors switch materials to lesser quality without customer approval, use unqualified labor, overcharge homeowners for “unforeseen problems”, try to up sell the customer once the project starts, etc.,etc.,etc…….it makes you wonder if you can trust anyone?

So where does the blame fall for all the home improvement complaints year after year? I guess it would be easy to blame the homeowner for not educating themselves on what to do when attempting a project. However the next question would be where does a homeowner get “educated”? Maybe a better question would be when does a homeowner find the time to get “educated”? Education is a great tool if you have the time to do the research. Most people don’t have the time or want to take the time to do hours and hours of research on how to go about getting a home improvement done correctly.

Oops I almost forgot Uncle Sam. A lot of people, including myself, think the government makes it too easy for someone, who has no ethics or skills, to do home improvement work. Why are there still some states that do not have licensing for people doing home improvements? And in the states that do have licensing, why are some of these states issuing licenses without the applicant needing to demonstrate any type of competence in home improvement work? This is like giving out a driver’s license without taking a road test. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

One last situation to blame, one that I would never forgive myself for not mentioning. Home improvement television shows have become the latest fad in television. You can hardly change television channels without a home improvement program popping up. The influx of home improvement shows on television has been phenomenal. However, most of these shows tend to unrealistically glorify the home improvement project as being easy to do with nothing ever going wrong. The last time I looked, nothing ever goes perfect, including home improvement projects. Little, if any information is mentioned on these shows, about how not to be “taken to the cleaners” when doing a project.

One would have to conclude that there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the problems homeowners face when attempting a home improvement project. Unfortunately, most of these problems have been around for many years and if you are expecting a “quick fix”, I think you might be waiting a very long time.

Since I retired from the home improvement industry two (2) years ago I decided it was time to stop worrying about who or what to blame about the constant wave of home improvement complaints (it really seems to be a waste of energy since nothing seems to change) and to put together a way for homeowners to fight back and get the home improvement results that they deserve.

This is why I founded The Home Improvement Success Club of America (TM). The club’s website, which I hope you will visit, can be found at http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com. This is a one-of-a-kind club that guides homeowners on how to get high quality, problem free, home improvement results.

Membership to this club includes The Home Improvement Success System, a complete how-to home improvement system that details all the steps you need to take to make your project a success. The club membership also includes a web forum to ask questions, phone consultations, monthly newsletters, teleseminars, teleclasses and written evaluations of member estimates and contracts.

This club guarantees to short cut the time homeowners need to learn how to complete any home improvement project. You are shown what to do and what to avoid. All the information that you receive from this club you could spend months trying to find, but by joining this club it is at your finger tips 24/7.

To do a home improvement project correctly you need to follow five (5) steps. These steps are:

1. Define your project based on your needs, finances and structural constraints.

2. Determine who can complete the project.

3. Evaluate perspective candidates (including yourself) who you may want to use to complete the project.

4. Prepare a contract that is “thorough” and protects you from poor home improvement situations.

5. Completing certain tasks when the project is being built.

These five steps seem relatively easy to understand but it’s the “particulars” (exactly what to say and do) of each step where most people fall short. Knowing these “particulars” are what makes or breaks your project. Membership to this club will guide you to completing a home improvement project without all the problems and aggravation that most people go through.

If you are interested in protecting your home from the home improvement nightmare, than visit The Home Improvement Success Club of America Website. Joining this club is the next best thing to getting “Home Improvement Insurance”. All Club memberships come with a 30 day money back guarantee.

By Hank Jaworowski, CR
Founder and President of The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)

The Home Improvement Success Club of America(TM)
http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com
e-mail:Hank@homeimprovementsuccess.com
631-360-7722