Before embarking on any home improvement project, first decide why you want to do it. Is ft because you want to make changes to your home, or is it because you want to make changes with a view to selling your home? As most home improvements rarely bring in the financial returns homeowners expect them to, the most successful projects are usually those ones undertaken for emotional rather than financial reasons Know exactly, down to the last penny, how much you can spend on any improvements. If you need to borrow money, then get confirmation of the sum available, and that you can in fact borrow it, before instructing anyone to start work! When setting your budget you will need to know how much of the work you can do yourself, and how much you are going to have to contract out (the cost of hiring a contractor will obviously have to be taken into account). You will also need to include the cost of hiring architects, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians, if necessary. Using a spreadsheet in a computer program such as Excel can help you keep on track where your budget's concerned. Itemize everything! If your budget is tight then you will need to make cost comparisons. Plumbers and electricians should be able to obtain any necessary parts at a much better rate than you would, so if you're employing anyone who's involved in the trade, then let them buy the parts (even if you're not, it will save money if you can ask anyone you know who might be able to get parts for you at a discounted rate if they wouldn't mind doing so). Keep working with your spreadsheet until the total is within your budget; it would be unwise to start with a figure outside of your budget in the hope that you might just come in under it.... If you're employing someone to carry out the work, get at least three estimates, and don't necessarily opt for the cheapest one! If you can, take a look at the work this contractor has carried out to date洋aybe he's worked on neighbors' houses; if so, ask if they would let you see his work so you can judge the standard. If you're not going to undertake the project yourself then depending on the size of the job you might want to employ someone to manage it for you, or if you prefer, you might want to manage it yourself. This will ensure that the work is carried out to your specification and on time. And if the work seems to be slipping at any stage, then you or your project manager can discuss the matter with your builder and address any issues before they escalate into bigger problems When it comes to carrying out home improvements solely for the purpose of reselling your house, find out what features have helped sell properties in your area. If buyers have been impressed with remodeled kitchens and bathrooms then obviously invest in improving these rooms. Remember, there are some improvements that will bring in only a small percentage of the initial cost, such as installing a swimming pool, or adding a bathroom at the expense of a bedroom (unless you have a particularly big house with in excess of five bedrooms). So think carefully before spending money on improvements that might not yield the results you think they will. Bio - Ruth Rogers enjoys working around the house and is currently doing her own home improvement project with windoes from ntwindow.com.