A big shout out to the single ladies…and especially those single moms…this post is for you! After 17 years of marriage, I found myself single once again after my divorce. I found myself wanting to crawl under a rock for the first six months of being single. I just wanted to live a quiet and simple life as I dealt with the loss of the family unit I had once known.
If you can relate, you might not be up for major renovations if you’re still grieving. For me, doing a few house projects gave me something to keep my mind off my problems. I was proud of myself for purchasing my own house and I wanted to make it my own. I laughed as I painted a bedroom pink and decorated my bedrooms and bathroom with pink floral. Because I can, I thought. Being single is nice because you can make all your own decisions. If you want pink floral, you can have pink floral. If you want a certain type of tile, go for it. You don’t have to compromise. So, do what you want and what will make you happy. However, the downside is that there is no one to help you make big decisions and oftentimes renovating can create many dilemmas. But the more you make these decisions on your own, the more you’ll learn and the more confident you’ll get in your ability to make these decisions all by yourself. I remember one day I was drilling holes in my garage to hang a ladder, I mowed my lawn, and I filled it with gas after I was done. I felt like a strong, independent woman. I was proud of myself. Any single woman or single mom should feel this from time to time. And dealing with contractors should not make you feel small. In this blog I will give you a few suggestions on how to feel confident and powerful when renovating your house as a single woman.
Prioritize Being Safe and Finding Your People
First of all, you need to prioritize being safe and assertive, especially when dealing with contractors and people who will be coming into your home. I’ve met several builders and contractors who have no problem taking advantage of me, however, I’ve met others who have gone out of their way to help me. For example, my plumber helped me get my insurance company to pay for my bathroom renovation. He also lets me pay him cash for small projects like changing out my kitchen faucet or installing a filter on my water faucet. My electrician also works for cash and has even helped me install my basketball hoop on my house. My heating and air conditioning guy helped me get the most from my home warranty and encouraged me to apply for grants for an energy efficient furnace. These are my people. The more work you have done, the more you’ll get to know the good ones…and you’ll have people you can call for just about anything too.
I live in a small town and I can just leave my side door open when I have someone coming to fix something and they’ll lock it when they leave. If you don’t live in a safe area, you won’t be able to do that. You’ll have to meet them in the morning or ask a neighbor to hold a key for you. You should also ask a friend to be there with you if you get an estimate or negotiate a quote for support and to keep you safe.
Ask for Referrals
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to get several estimates and second opinions. If you find a handyman you like, whether it be an electrician or a plumber, ask him or her for names of other people that could help you out like a heating and air conditioning person. Ask people you trust for referrals. Handymen or women usually have a network of people they know or have worked with for various projects. You’ll need good people when you’re single.
You Can Do It!
However, don’t be afraid to try a project or two on your own. You can do it! My dog ripped a hole in my screen door one day. I replaced it all by myself. I just figured it out. I paint on my own too. I built a garden, too, all by myself last spring. I tilled up the lawn, planted the flowers, and added mulch. It looked beautiful and I was so proud of it because I did it myself. Sometimes you can go to a store like Lowe’s or Menard’s and the employees will explain projects to you that you might be able to tackle on your own. But if you don’t have the time because you’re juggling a job and kids, then work on getting that network of people to help you. The trustworthy, honest ones.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The worst they could say is no. For example, I always ask if they’ll work for cash. Some say no, but a lot say yes. Just make sure they are licensed and insured. You won’t be able to insure the work you do if you pay for cash. But, if you trust them and it’s a small project, then there may be no harm in it. Also, I was surprised when my electrician agreed to install my basketball hoop. He wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t have asked! You never know!
So, try some projects on your own or ask a friend to help you, develop a network of handy people you trust to call when you need them, and be assertive and safe when dealing with new people. The more you try the more confident you’ll feel. You can do it!