Fall is a busy time for home improvements. What are the considerations you need to make, including how far ahead should you book if you need to hire a pro for your fall landscaping, planting, painting, insulating, roofing, moving and/or other projects?

Fall is the time to batten down the hatches, to protect and prepare your home for colder temperatures and harsher conditions. If you’re going to make home improvements that require hiring a contractor, you need to start planning those projects early.

Good contractors are swamped throughout the summer and fall; you may have to wait weeks before a reputable professional can squeeze you in for a quote, much less schedule the work.

Contractors who do indoor jobs are sometimes easier to land, but you should still start researching (visit www.homestars.com for customer reviews), and collecting quotes well before you need the work done.

Pick your battles.

There are chores homeowners should take on in the fall or late summer (for more, see: Chore checklist), but most of us can’t take them all on at once.

Establish priorities: are you trying to solve a health and comfort issue (such as insulating and heating) or improve resale value, for example? To help you figure out where your resources should go, read: Choosing between renovations.

Roof and insulation.

When the weather it good, it can be hard to think ahead, but it’s the perfect time to evaluate your building envelope.

Will your roof last through fall rain or early snow? Get up there and check for broken or missing shingles, or ripped membranes. If you see anything suspicious, call for roofing quotes now. Remember that outdoor work is heavily seasonal, so if you call a roofer or landscaper, don’t be surprised if it’s a week or more before they call you back.

Insulating your attic and crawl spaces can save you money and keep you more comfortable, especially in the winter. But if you wait till the colder weather starts before setting that up, you may have to wait through the winter. (Another incentive to tackle insulation while the weather is good: it will improve the efficiency of your air conditioning, which will save you money.)

Walk around the outside of your house. Is water coming towards the foundation, does it pool around the building? If so, consider calling a professional. The problem could be the grading, or it could be an issue with landscaping (large rocks and retaining walls sometimes disrupt water flow).

The window of opportunity for landscapers to work is even shorter than it is for roofers. The sooner you start interviewing contractors, the more likely you’ll find one who can do your work this year. But be prepared: the best landscapers sometimes are booking a year in advance.

Furnace/boiler.

Before the Labour Day weekend, call your gas supplier or appliance provider to schedule an annual tune-up/inspection. Get your appointment on the books well before it’s cold enough to turn the heat on—otherwise you may have to shiver through some cold days as you compete with other homeowners for an appointment time.

Kitchen or bathroom overhaul.

Both can greatly improve your property value.

When you’re tackling these jobs, it’s best if the work can be done before the temperature plummets, so you can leave windows and doors open while its going on. And because the work involves the mechanicals of your home (plumbing, electrical, heating), and often structure, you’ll want to interview contractors carefully and check their references too. That takes time, especially since whomever you choose will need to get permits. If you want the work to happen this year, start interviewing contractors early in the fall.

Interested in other renovations to increase your property value?  Read the top 5 money-makers here: Top five home renovations that increase property value.

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