How to shop smart for home improvements

How to shop smart for home improvements
Photo provided by Unified Home Remodeling

By Steve M. DiMare

Confusion is probably the word on the minds of most home improvement shoppers. Between fast talking salesmen and a plethora of options and features, some homeowners lose sight of their most valuable shopping asset – common sense. Here are six tips to use while shopping for home improvements that could come from any person with nothing more than good old fashioned horse sense.


The biggest mistake most people make is buying from a person they don’t entirely trust. Most people think it is acceptable to buy home improvements from a person they don’t entirely trust because they think all salesmen or contractors are alike.

You should never buy anything from any company or person you don’t trust and feel one hundred percent comfortable with.


Sometimes what sounds good in description and looks great in pictures turns out to be a total disappointment.

You should never sign a contract without seeing the product first and never be afraid to tell your salesman just that.

An honest salesman will understand your apprehension and welcome you to go to the showroom before signing a contract. Always ask for a sample and don’t be afraid to ask questions.


A company’s reputation says it all. Always inquire how long a company has been in business and how many jobs they complete each year.

This information will give you a good idea about a company’s experience. Unified completes approximately over 8,000 jobs per year and has been in business since 1989. That’s around 300,000 since the company was started.

Always check with Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau to determine when the company was first licensed to ensure they didn’t change names along the way or go out of business. 


Unified never recommends buying any product or home improvements from a person or company that does not work out of a showroom, factory, or professional storefront. Even though the price will be lower, anyone who works out of a house, truck, or post office box, can seem to disappear into thin air. Take the time to go out and see the place of business, even if the contractor comes to give you an in home estimate. 


If a company and salesman are really honest, you should be able to get direct answers over the telephone, including exact prices and descriptions without having to give your name or address and without talking to a specific person. An honest company should have nothing to hide.


Before signing a contract, make a quick list on your own of everything you expect from the job and everything the salesperson promised you. Then compare your list with the contract to be sure each item is clearly written.  Don’t hesitate to have the salesman add what is missing.

When it comes to improvements or upgrades for your home you want to make sure you hire a professional company who has been in business for a long time in order to ensure your home is in good hands.

Doing your own research and talking to multiple companies can help you get a better understanding of the industry, products available on the market, and types of contractors in your area.

Steve M. DiMare is president of Unified Home Remodeling

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