I am often asked where to go, or who to listen to for answers when it comes to making major decisions regarding people’s homes. Some of the questions we grapple with are whether to stay where we are or to move. When our homes no longer satisfy our needs or those of our families, we are next faced with a host of decisions surrounding finding another home or remodeling the home we are in. The decision to remodel or renovate your home then leads to a host of other questions and choices. Key among your decisions is choosing the right people to listen to.
Some of the areas that must be addressed include the type and extent of your renovation, and the selection of the professionals that you will work with. I have heard of so many people struggling to get the right answers and sometimes simply getting advice from the wrong sources. Often those sources are well meaning friends, and just as often the advice is coming from the internet. As most of us realize, we have become a society of people who rely on Google for our answers. As beneficial as the internet can be, it is not without its liabilities. Just like it is important to know that you are getting the right answers from the people you go to, it is equally important to ensure that the advice you listen to from the internet is sound. With regard to the internet, the simple answer is to verify the information with a professional who knows and understands the issues you are dealing with.
Over the years I have heard so many stories of disaster and near disaster resulting from people listening to and taking advice from the wrong people or the wrong sources. Although you will want to learn from others and get different viewpoints in making your decisions, it is important to guard against situations of the blind leading the blind. As we all realize, we sometimes find we actually gain some real nuggets of wisdom from listening to others. So what is the difference, and when do you know that you are getting help instead of more confusion regarding your situation?
There are as many ways that you can be helped by others as there are ways that you can be hurt. Of course we could reverse that statement and focus on the ways you can be hurt. But instead let’s look at the important elements needed in seeking help. One of the frustrating things I often see is the person who asks everyone for their opinion. This can be dangerous for a number of reasons. The biggest problem with asking too many people is that most of them will not be qualified to give you sound advice. Part of this “disqualification” is that they most likely don’t have all the facts, or they don’t have the necessary experience in the area, or they don’t have the time and attention to put into helping you with your questions. Part of not having the experience is that these individuals may be very fixed into their way of thinking about something and quite frankly either can’t or won’t look at the big picture.
Unless you are dealing with a professional in the area, it is rare to find someone who will have the necessary time or energy to put into answering your questions and helping you solve your problems. As a result you will more likely get an offhand answer or opinion. That is not to say that the advisor is trying to hurt you, most likely they aren’t, but keep in mind that you probably could have come up with the same answer yourself.
Although your family, friends and neighbors usually mean well, they often are not equipped to assist in certain decisions. Even though everyone has their own ideas or opinions about certain subjects, they usually don’t have all the facts, knowledge or experience needed for sound decision making. Although this is true in a lot of areas of life, it is especially true when it involves any decisions or plans requiring professional expertise. We have all heard of the arm chair attorney, accountant or doctor, but too many of us ignore the importance of seeking professional advice when it comes to home improvement.
Lorraine Hart is the president and senior consultant for Ideal Consulting. Ideal has been providing business consulting, coaching, and training of small businesses in the construction industry since 1992. Lorraine has been writing and managing content for numerous organizations for over 25 years. She is a national member of NARI and contributor to its national blog. She is also a regular contributor to Remodeling Today and the coordinator and editor of the weekly home articles for the Houston Chronicle. On top of all that, Lorraine is also a member of the GHBA, the Remodelers Council, Custom Builders Council, and the Bay Area Builders.