Expert Author Vladimir Mesic

I've seen a lot, in the building refurbishment and home repair and remodeling industry over the decades, about which I could probably write many books about, if there was enough time. But for now, here is some advice to help you avoid some home remodeling disasters that I have seen happen to others and a few minor ones that happened to me as well.

Please read this very carefully, it could possibly save you money, time, your sanity, even your marriage or relationship with your partner, to name a few. We should learn from other people's mistakes and not just our own. Don't be one of those people.

Important issues you must consider and plan for in advance to keep out of trouble with your remodeling project are:

1. Have the necessary permits before you start work.

After you finished the job it was time for admiration as you thought you did a great remodeling job only to discover that you actually needed a permit for the job. The permit might not be required depending on the job but if you are removing walls and adding new space for example, more than likely, you would need a permit. It would mean the relevant plans and specification done by the engineer, architect or possibly the builder.

2. Related to the permit question is the issue of your remodeling work complying with regulations and the building code.

The plans and paperwork have to comply with the regulation and building code when you get the permit, but the role of the inspector who comes out to check on your project is also to keep workmanship and site safety to an adequate standard.

He or she would check that your project complies with the building code and other regulations and that safe work practices are adhered to.

It is in your interest to have that permit, if required. In having a permit some time during the remodeling but before it's finished the inspector would point out things that have to be changed and corrected which would be hard to do once the job is finished. At the same time you would feel better knowing that the workmanship is of at least an adequate standard.

3. Choose the contractors and tradespeople you will give the job to, well.

Don't be fooled by the smooth talking salesperson or a builder, giving you promises and empty words. You should see their previous remodeling work for your self, their warranty conditions and should come recommended by a trustworthy friend or relative.

4. Check if the contractor has the necessary insurances and check what type of cover you will need yourself.

Don't trust the contractors on his word. Demand a written certificate of currency fro the contractors insurance company.

5. Have a contract with detailed scope of works and specification attached with it. The more detailed and specific it is the better.

It can get very ugly during or near the end of your home remodeling project, when you realize that the contractor is demanding more money or that he is not doing all the work that you thought would be done if the scope of works is too vague on exactly what is included, or not included in the contract.

Having a detailed and specific scope of works and detailed specification of all fixtures, materials and finishes with costs included will be good for both the contractor and yourself.

You will not have a good outcome of your home remodeling project if the contractor in the end is not happy as well because of misunderstandings and bad communication with you.

6. Do not leave too much money to the contractor in the way of an initial deposit, before he commences work. Leave an initial deposit only when the contractor has arrived on site and work commenced, while the progress payments should only be made for the amount of estimated completion.

7. Under no circumstances pay all the money to the contractor until the job is inspected and completed.

In case of you having the local authority inspector needing to do the final inspection before you can use the space to live in, then keep a good portion of the money to pay until that final inspection is completed and all the defects repaired.

You have to honor the contract but there should be a clause in it, stating that you have to pay the final installment only after full completion.

It is probable that if you pay everything before the job completion it will be hard ton get the contractor back to finish and fix defects.

8. Have enough money to complete the job.

You will find that if you don't have the money and resources to complete your project, it could lead to all sorts of personal and financial hardship and make life hard on the children and other family members.

Rarely does the remodeling project end up costing exactly what you planned for because there are always things that happen that you cannot foresee. So allow for a bit extra than you have estimated the cost to be.

By not being able to finish what you started and have the part of your home exposed to the weather, like unfinished roof or walls etc, you could end up having to redo a lot of the work you've done because of water damage and other issues arising from that.

If you intended to rent out the new space you are creating with the home remodeling you started, it could lead to a loss of income you were relying on.

If you did not have the money to finish your heating in the new space and the winter comes it could lead to water pipes freezing and causing a lot of damage for example.

At the end of the day nobody likes to run out of money and not be able to complete the job and the disruption to your life can be overwhelming if you have to live in that unfinished mess.

9. Treat work safety and health issues seriously and barricade off the remodeling work area for example, so that children and others do not end up walking into work area and injure themselves.

Make sure you use appropriate personal safety equipment like steel capped boots, eye protection and ear plugs to name a few.

Don't try to use a ladder to do work that you could easily slip off if you need to use a jackhammer or a power saw for example. Make an elevated platform with trestles and planks or scaffolding if necessary. It is very easy to fall of the ladder or injure your back while trying to hold a heavy tool and work from a ladder

Keep the work area free from materials and rubble lying around the floor. Clean up the floors regularly to avoid injuries.

10. It's important that you and the contractors know precisely the position of the main switch, valves for water, electricity and gas as well as other services while remodeling is taking place.

You need to be able to switch off electricity, water supply or gas supply very quickly in case of an emergency. For example, you are drilling a hole in the wall and hit and puncture a water pipe, which is not uncommon, so you need to know where you need to go to turn off the mains supply. That water could be spraying onto a power outlet close by, so you need to know where the main power switchboard is to quickly switch it off.

A lot of damage can be caused by leaking water, gas or faulty electrical wiring.


Expert Author Vladimir Mesic

Before you finally decide to start remodeling your bathroom, make sure you do the proper planning and research to minimize issues which can cost you a lot of headaches, time and money. Based on my hands on experience in home repair and remodeling projects in general, here are a few tips that could help you get your bathroom remodeling project running smoothly.

Whether it's a case of you wanting to remodel an existing bathroom or building an additional one to accommodate your family growing in size or just for the convenience of having two bathrooms, it's one of the most important jobs you can do in your home with a lot of time and money being invested so you don't want to stuff it up. I would not advise that you do the whole job or even parts of it by yourself, unless you are an experienced building trades person and have handled bathroom renovation projects before.

The reason for that is that this type of work requires many different trades and skills to come together and each part of the job, tiling, waterproofing, plumbing, electrical work, design of the layout and so on, are interdependent and have to be done in a proper job sequence as well as requiring specialized skills and experience.

Another important point is that you want the project to finish in a reasonable amount of time which will more than likely not happen if you try to do the work yourself after your regular job and during weekends. That could be very disruptive for your family if you and your children live there during the work.

It is important to keep in mind, that the bathroom space is usually quiet limited so it is essential to utilize the space available efficiently. Make sure you spend the time to look into the different options available in terms of the layout of the bathroom, the type of fittings, shower cubicle, vanity units, towel holders, which tiles will match well with the fittings and the overall look you want to achieve. Visiting home remodeling and bathroom stores and showrooms can be very helpful.

Have a bathroom floor plan drawn up to scale and insert the outline of the toilet, bathtub, vanity unit, shower screen and other fittings into the drawing to get a better idea if there will be enough room for easy movement or if the layout is functional. It means you will have to keep making the changes in that plan depending what works best for your situation. This plan can also be used to present to the contractors for cost estimates and various trades such as a plumber, electrician for services installation and so on. Make sure you find out if you need a permit from relevant local authorities, especially if you are extending or adding a room as part of the bathroom remodeling.

Better still you can draw a layout on a flat surface, in an empty room corner somewhere, in 1:1 scale so you get a better feel for the space and how it may look on site. In any case, the more detailed your plan and bathroom specification is, the easier and less costly your bathroom project will probably end up being.

Spending time and giving a lot of thought into your bathroom remodeling project and making changes before you actually start work on it, will save you a lot of money as any changes made during the bathroom remodeling work will mean more work and modifications which in many cases won't even be able to be made without quality being compromised.


Expert Author Vladimir Mesic

For your next home remodeling project, whether it be a new kitchen, a new bathroom or any other home improvement job, consider the following important tips I am providing you with. It could mean the difference between a success or failure of your project.

For most home owners, remodeling work on their home is exciting but is also stressing as most people do not have experience with that sort of thing and don't know what to expect.

The following things are what you can do to ensure the success of your home remodeling project. Please consider and act on the following tips.

Tip #1: Get a professionally designed and detailed plan made.

It is relatively easy to make adjustments in layout, materials, choice of appliances and so on, in this crucial initial stage, the design, so spend time to adjust, change and perfect your vision while it is still in planning stage. Once the job has already started it will be difficult and costly to make changes and quality can suffer as well. Get a designer to put your idea of a perfect look and functionality onto paper, with enough detail so there is no guessing later on.

Tip #2: Don't start the job before you have the money.

It is tempting to start your remodeling project even before you have all the funds needed, with a hope to come up with the rest of the money along the way, but it is more than likely that you will need more money as most home remodeling projects end up going over budget, unforseen problems once you start opening up walls or making changes being some of the reasons.

Tip #3: Choose finishes and materials that are proven to last a long time.

In a case of your bathroom or kitchen remodeling keep in mind that it needs to last a long time. Trying to save a few dollars on the expense of durability or choosing inferior products will come back to haunt you, when you realise how easy that cheap bench top scratches or the golden finish on the bathroom ware handles starts to wear off for example.

Tip #4: When choosing colors, a particular style and finishing have the future in mind.

Don't get stuck on some particular color or finish of materials you might personally like. You have to think ahead, whether it will still be good looking and in style decades into the future and if it will appeal to most other people not just to you. This is particularly important if you are planning to sell your home further down the line. You will want to appeal to a maximum number of potential buyers.

Tip #5: Choose the remodeling contractor carefully.

Choose a remodeling contractor with a lot of experience and necessary license for the job. Best if the contractor comes recommended by good friend or family, based on his previous projects. An absolute must is that you have a detailed scope of works, written warranties and legal clauses in the written contract with the contractor, before the job starts.

Tip #6: Your personal input is important but listen to others that matter as well.

At the end of the day it is you and your family that will live in the home you are remodeling and you know your needs and aspirations the best. Be prepared to tell the designer what you want and need for example but also be prepared to listen as the remodeling project is a joint effort.

Tip #7: Have the insurances and approvals in place.

You might need local government approvals before you start the job so make sure you comply. Also it is prudent to have necessary liability insurance as well as checking that the contractor does, by demanding proof of such in writing.

Tip #8: Monitor the work and progress but stay out of the contractors way.

Monitoring the job quality and it's progress is a must as you shouldn't take the contractors word for granted. You will be able to point out any discrepancy or ask the contractor to explain something you are not sure about. You don't need unnecessary stress and worry, after all the contractor should know what he or she is doing and if you are on the job too long and too often it will send the message you have no trust in their work..

Tip #9: Make sure that safe work practices are followed and keep your family safe.

Seeing so many tradespeople and homeowners injure themselves and some even die on the job has made me work safety conscious. In the case of the work being carried out in your own home makes the risks of injury to you and your family even greater, so take steps to minimise or eliminate risks during the job.

Tip #10: Don't pay out the balance till the job is completed.

You have to honour your contract with the remodeling contractor but so does he or she, so make sure all the work is completed and any rectification work completed before paying the balance.

Expert Author Gihan Perera
People are influenced by people they like. You're more likely to believe something somebody from your favoured party says than an equivalent statement from an opposition party. You're more likely to believe friends than strangers. You're more likely to believe people that are such as you than those that are different. an equivalent applies to your internet site , so use likeability in your marketing, and it'll encourage more site visitors to shop for from you.

Of course, it isn't easy to influence people to love you - especially on such an impersonal place as an internet site. It's become even harder now within the age of social media, because there are internet sites (like Facebook) where people connect with others they are doing genuinely like. So once they come to a more "traditional" internet site , it looks like a far less friendly and fewer likeable place.

This doesn't mean you cannot do anything to form your internet site visitors such as you . Rather, it means you've got to figure even harder than before!

Here are five techniques you'll use to create rapport together with your site visitors - and increase your likeability.

1. hang around where they hang around .

The process starts even before they get to your internet site . If you spend time within the same online places as your target market, you'll start the method of building rapport with them there. Answer their questions, share useful information, and have interaction in conversations, and other people will grow to understand , like and trust you. you do not even need to explicitly promote your internet site (and sometimes this may even work against you). Just participate in these online communities with the intention of serving and being helpful, which causes you to more likeable.

2. Get warm leads from reputable sources

Somebody who finds your internet site when searching Google remains a valuable lead, but they're a chilly lead. On the opposite hand, somebody who is mentioned your internet site by somebody else is more valuable, because they're already positively disposed towards you. They already such as you already to some extent, because the one that referred you likes you.

Look for ways to nurture and encourage these referrals, so you get warmer leads and more people that such as you . Here are some potential referral partners:

Current and past customers (who can refer their friends to you)
Colleagues and peers who add complementary, but non-competing, fields
Joint venture partners, with whom you've got some kind of affiliate agreement
3. Show your face

When people visit your internet site , show them there are real people behind the location , and - if appropriate - inject your personality into it. In other words, show your face, not just your brand or business name.

One of the simplest ways to try to to this is often to literally show your face during a welcome video on the house page. Record a quick video (2 minutes maximum), upload it to YouTube, and embed it on your home page. this provides site visitors a private connection immediately, and proves that you're genuine and sincere.

4. Speak their language

The best thanks to get your internet site visitors to love you is to point out them you understand them. Join their mailing lists, participate in their discussion forums, pay to attend their webinars and virtual conferences, follow them on Twitter, answer their LinkedIn questions, and so on.

You'll then be ready to provide a much better level of service once they visit your internet site - for example:

Organise the location so it addresses their most vital problems first
Write in their language, using their jargon
Create products within the format that suits them
Your "frequently asked questions" page can answer the questions that are the foremost commonly asked 
You know their objections, so you'll raise them yourself then address them effectively
Some people see this approach as sneaky or unethical - as if you're pretending to be friends together with your prospective customers with great care you'll sell to them. Of course, if that's your intent, it's sneaky and unethical; but it doesn't need to be that way. It's less ethical to undertake to sell them products or services without truly understanding their needs.

5. Sell more to existing customers

Finally, confine mind that there's one group of individuals who already likes you: Your past and current customers. Consider ways of promoting and selling more products and services to them, and you will find this to be a way easier sale than trying to convince strangers to love you.
Expert Author Gihan Perera
Although people find round numbers easier to know , they find specific numbers more believable. When you're more specific, you sound more credible and authoritative, so use this in your internet site marketing.

For example, a while management experts advise you to schedule meetings at an odd time, such as 8.05am, instead of a "round number" like 8.00am or 8.15am. The round number allows people to assume it's an estimate, in order that they don't provides it much importance - and might dawdle and wander in 10 minutes late. On the opposite hand, once you announce an unusual time, such as 8.05am, it forces people to take a seat up and notice . By being more specific, you're giving greater importance to the amount , and it encourages people to attend on time.

You can use an equivalent principle on your internet site . By being specific and giving more detail, you give the knowledge greater weight in your site visitor's mind.

You do need to take care , though, that you're realistic; otherwise, you'll lose credibility. This jogs my memory of the joke about the young child lecture his father at a museum:

Child: These dinosaurs lived 30 million and three years ago.

Father: How does one realize it so precisely?

Child: Well, the sign here says they lived 30 million years ago, and therefore the museum opened 3 years ago.

Joking aside, here are four ways to use the principle of specificity on your Web site:

1. Use more precise numbers

Examine your internet site for samples of round numbers, and - if appropriate - replace them with more precise numbers.

For example, compare these two statements:

"We have worked with 100 of the Fortune 500 companies."
"We have worked with 97 of the Fortune 500 companies."
The first number seems like an estimate (even if it's not), while the second looks more precise and is more credible.

Note: you ought to only do that with round numbers that you're using to demonstrate credibility - as during this example. When you're using numbers for clarity and explanation, a round number is typically better (for example, you'd say "The city features a 30,000-seat stadium" instead of "The city features a 31,238-seat stadium").

2. Tell them what's within the package

When selling a bundle, set or collection of products, list each item within the bundle and describe it intimately . for instance , if you're selling a drill set for the house handyman, you'd describe the contents of the set. the extent of detail depends on what's appropriate for your market. for instance , if you're selling to the overall public, you almost certainly don't got to list the dimensions of each drill bit; it's enough to mention something like, "12 drill bits starting from X to Y".

When you do that , you are doing need to take care to not overwhelm the customer. If you think that this is often a drag , put the small print on a separate page and provides them the choice to look at them if they need to try to to so.

3. Tell them what it's worth

If you're bundling products together and offering the bundle at a special price (that is, but the value of shopping for each product individually), show the individual prices and their total, therefore the internet site visitor can see the discount with their own eyes. Listing the worth of every item is more credible than simply stating the discount, because the location visitor knows they will verify the small print if they want .

3. means the foremost useful bit

In some cases, it's useful to single out specific items as being more useful than others - for example:

"For most of our clients, the foremost useful a part of the package is that the two-hour consulting session with one among our coaches."

This doesn't diminish the worth of the opposite items within the package; it simply highlights the precise items that people have found most useful.
Expert Author Gihan Perera
There's a lot of recommendation about the way to use Twitter for business, but most of it's aimed toward marketers and customer service representatives. this recommendation is usually not appropriate for leaders, because it's time-consuming, low value, and a distraction from their key responsibilities. But leaders should use Twitter - they only got to use it properly.

In January 2013, the Digital Policy Council reported that three out of 4 heads of state were Twitter users. whether or not they are tweeting directly or not (and they're most likely not), this certainly shows they care enough to possess a Twitter presence. an equivalent should apply to business leaders and thought leaders, who should use Twitter to share their strategic messages and concepts with the key people in their networks.

The problem for many leaders is that the overall advice about using Twitter isn't appropriate for them. Of course, they should not be tweeting about what that they had for lunch - that's obvious. But what's not so obvious is that they also should not be trying to urge as many followers as possible, tweet 5-10 times each day , spend all day watching what their customers are saying, or engage in back-and-forth conversations with followers. that does not add up for them, because it isn't a part of their role.

Instead, leaders should use Twitter as another channel for sharing their key strategic messages and concepts , sparking relevant conversations, and connecting with key stakeholders.

If you are a leader, here are seven practical belongings you can do to use Twitter effectively.

1. Get a Twitter account!

This might sound obvious, but it must be said. Get your own Twitter account, in your name, and set it up with a quick profile and photograph. albeit your organisation has other Twitter accounts, get one for yourself. this may represent you, and can be a vehicle for you to share your ideas and messages.

2. Invite people to follow you

Announce that you're on Twitter, and invite people that are already in your network to follow you. For example:

If you've got an e-mail newsletter, announce it to your subscribers.
If you're a CEO, invite employees, media outlets, and other key stakeholders.
If you are a business owner, announce it to your customers.
Don't make an enormous deal of this, and do not attempt to "sell" them on the thought . That's undignified and inappropriate for a pacesetter . Simply announce it, and know that the proper people will prefer to follow.

3. Follow people you wish and respect

Don't attempt to follow too many people; it'll clutter your incoming tweets and can make it too easy to miss something important. Instead, search the people that interest you, and follow them if they need Twitter accounts.

The people you follow will depend upon you, of course, but they might include: thought leaders and other experts in your industry, peers and colleagues who share valuable information, selected media outlets and journalists, bloggers who write on your industry, and maybe even competitors.

4. Be ruthless about culling irrelevant tweeters

If you are not sure whether somebody is worth following, follow them anyway; but drop them from your list unless they still deliver useful information. you've got enough other things to affect in your day anyway, and a few of them are out of your control. this is not , so be ruthless in "unfollowing" people that don't consistently deliver value.

5. Retweet selected tweets

When somebody tweets something that's worth sharing, retweet it therefore the remainder of your network gets it. do that selectively and sometimes , so your network knows that you simply only share the highest-quality material, which reinforces your reputation.

Be aware that what you retweet carries your implicit endorsement (even if you do not intend it to be that way), so make certain you're happy for it to be treated this manner .

6. Share links to other people's material

You don't only need to share other people's tweets. If you discover relevant articles, blog posts, slide shows, infographics, or videos online, tweet about them, with a quick description and a link to the first material.

Again, your tweets carry an implicit endorsement of the fabric , so check it carefully first.

7. Share YOUR key ideas and messages

All of the ideas above will help build your reputation with the proper network of individuals on Twitter. That's all leading up to the foremost important thing you'll do: Share your own key strategic messages and concepts on Twitter. These might only be 20% of your tweets, but they carry more weight because they're directly from you.
Expert Author Gihan Perera
Even during this age when we're all conversant in using the web daily, buying from a stranger's internet site may be a daunting process. Most internet sites do little or no to form the location visitor feel comfortable, which suggests they're reluctant to shop for - or maybe spend much time on the location in the least . To vary , go even further than making the location visitor feel comfortable: Give them something free. This helps to create rapport, and invokes one among the foremost powerful principles of persuasion: a way of obligation.

The rule of reciprocity says that once you do somebody a favour, they feel some obligation to return the favour. Often, that feeling is so strong the response far outweighs the first favour (That's why some organisations forbid their business department from accepting any gifts - even small gifts - from vendors).

However, reciprocity only works if it seems genuine and sincere. So be generous, and provides with no strings attached. albeit most of the people take the gift and never buy something from you, you'll have enough others who take the gift and do buy.

Here are four ways to form the rule of reciprocity work for you on your internet site .

1. Give freely

Too many internet sites think they're giving something away, but actually are making it too hard for the location visitor to simply accept the gift.

For example, if you offer a free report, but expect site visitors to fill during a 20-field online form to download the report, many of them won't bother, because they think the worth of divulging their personal information is above the potential value of the report.

The best option is to offer the report away as an immediate download link on your site, without posing for any information in the least . That way, the location visitor knows it's being offered with no strings attached.

If you think that you actually must invite some information in exchange for the gift, invite as little as possible, and make it optional if possible.

2. Offer a free trial

If it's appropriate for your product or service, allow your internet site visitors to request a free trial instead of committing to a sale immediately. this is often common with software, where the software developer can automatically terminate the service at the top of the trial. it is also possible with some services - like a business coach offering a complimentary coaching session for brand spanking new clients.

As with the point , this works best (in terms of reciprocity) once you offer the trial with no strings attached (For example, you do not invite their mastercard details beforehand , and expect them to cancel it if they do not want to continue).

3. Give them a surprise bonus

Although most gifts on internet sites are given before the sale, so as to influence internet site visitors to shop for , you'll also give the customer a present after they buy. this is often perceived as even more generous, because you're obviously not doing it so as to convince them to shop for . However, it does still have value for you, because it delights the customer, increases their loyalty, and encourages them to speak about it with others.

4. Give more to your customers

The rule of reciprocity doesn't apply only to new customers; it also applies to your current and past customers, who already know, like and trust you. In fact, if they're proud of you, they're already more likely to offer you more business or referrals. So continue giving them value above and beyond what they originally bought, and this may offer you a good greater return on investment.

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