Monthly Archives: July 2017

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) 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.

Home Improvement Loan

Each one of us wishes to make our home look the best. Even small improvements in the home can make big changes. People undertake different home improvement projects be it for making it a better place to live or as a mere status symbol. You may have great home improvement plans in your mind. However, do you have sufficient funds with you? No, don’t look at your savings. You may have big savings in your account, but don’t use it for making home improvements, they can be used in handling any financial emergency in the future.

Why to use your own funds when you can take a loan to make home improvements? A home improvement loan can provide you with the funds you need to make the home improvements that you and your family has been eagerly waiting for.

Home improvement loan is tailored for the UK residents who wish to make improvements in their home. You can use the loan money to make specific as well as complete remodeling of your home such as heating system, new conservatory, new kitchen, rewiring or any desired home remodeling. When you will make improvements in your home, it will definitely help in increasing the value and add more equity in your home. This will help you in grabbing better and larger amount of loan in the future.

Home improvement loan providers in the UK can provide you with the loan amount up to £75,000. So, with a home improvement loan you can finance small as well as big home improvement projects. The rate of interest on the home improvement loan varies from lender to lender while the loan term may range from 3 to 25 years depending on your credit score and the amount you wish to borrow.

You get an option to apply for either a secured or an unsecured home improvement loan. Secured home improvement loan requires a borrower to put collateral against the loan. You can put your home, car or any property as a security against the loan. Advantages of secured home improvement loan are larger amount of loan, lower rate of interest, longer loan term and flexible repayment term.

Unsecured home improvement loan does not involve a borrower to put any security against the loan. Homeowners as well as tenants can apply for an unsecured home improvement loans. Homeowners by availing an unsecured home improvement loan can protect his property from the risk of repossession by the lender that happens in case a borrower fails to pay the loan money on time and in full.

Estimate the cost that will be incurred in undertaking the home improvement project before you start searching for the best home improvement loan deal. Plan in advance about whether you wish to do the improvements yourself or want to hire a contractor. If you wish to hire a contractor, you should also add his fees in the estimation of the expenses. All this will help you in determining the loan you need, to make the desired changes in your home.

Traditional lenders used to rule the finance market in the past. Lot of inconvenience was involved in the whole loan process. A borrower had to go out and meet each lender personally, fill in the long application form and stand in loan queues to submit their loan application form. And then wait for the lender’s decision, which used to take many days and sometime even weeks.

Entry of the online lenders has given a breakthrough to all the hurdles that existed in the old lending process. In the present scenario, the loan application process has been simplified for the convenience of the borrowers. A borrower just needs to fill in a small online loan application form that hardly takes 2 to 5 minutes. Fast loan approval, in-principle loan decision and low rate of interest are some of the features of online loans.

By the time you are through with the loan application process, you will start receiving lot of loan offers that you may find to be the best. Don’t hurry in making the decision, a little bit of research can help you save good sum of money that you can use in the future. Collect the loan quotes which is offered by most of the online lenders and compare them, look for the home improvement loan that is offered with the following features low rate of interest, larger loan amount, longer loan term and flexible repayment terms.

Make the required changes in your home to transform it into your dream home with a home improvement loan. A little bit of hardship on your part while searching for the best home improvement loan can help you save your hard earned pounds.

Guide To Home Improvement Loan

If some one asks me the first thing that I would like to change or improve upon given an opportunity. The answer without second thought would be my home. Why? This is the place where I feel most comfortable and this is where I have enjoyed my best times and to enjoy those again and again I would improve my home.

In fact that is the case with almost every person. So if you are one of those people who wants to go for home improvement but cannot because of financial constraints. UK guide to home improvement can provide an ideal platform from where it would be a lot easier to go for home improvement.

The home improvement that you may go for could be minor or major. It purely depends on the requirement of individuals on how they see things at that point of time. The usage for which a home improvement loan may be taken depends on person to person and his needs or just luxuries.

Few reasons why a home improvement loan is taken in UK are:

·Adding of new rooms like bedroom


·Safety repairs

·Roofing, plumbing and sewer repairs


·Adding luxuries like a swimming pool

The home improvement loan in UK is available with two options to the borrowers. They are:

A secured home improvement loan which can be taken by the borrowers if they can provide a security to the lender. The security may be any of the assets of the borrower his home, car or any piece of land. With these loans we can get a loan of up to £75000 for a long period.

Advantages of a secured home improvement loan in UK are

Low interest rates, hence low monthly payments.

People can easily avail big amounts for long time.

Easy and fast approval of loans.

A disadvantage of a secured loan is that it can only be availed if the borrower has a security otherwise these loans are not available.

Other way of getting a loan is through unsecured loans these loans do not require any collateral to be provided. So these loans are available to almost every body from tenants to home owners. With these type of loans we can loans starting from £500 to £25000.

Advantages of unsecured loans are
Everybody can take these loans as no collateral is required to be provided to the lenders. Therefore no risk is attached to the borrower.

Disadvantages of taking unsecured loans are

High interest rates

High monthly installments

Small loan amounts are approved

Home improvement loans in UK are now available to every body even to people who have bad credit history. It includes people like CCJ’s, arrears, defaults, or late payments.
Bad credit history is determined on the basis of a credit score which is given to every borrower in UK who have previously taken loans. A score of below 600 is the one which brings in the reputation of bad credit.
Considering the importance of homes and their improvements these loans are made available to people with bad credit history as well.

Home improvement loans not only serve the purpose the also provide many benefits to the borrowers as well.

·Home improvement appreciates the value of the house which helps the borrower in many ways.

·For people with bad credit history it is a chance of improving their credit reputation.

·While in the process of taking home improvement loans you can get suitable advice on other different topics.

“Home sweet home” that is how the phrase is and that is certainly true for most of the people. A healthy home environment can lead to a healthy work and other things. So a home should be perfect in our eyes. As perfection begins from home and then filters through to different aspects so if you feel that home improvement is needed than you should go for it.