HOME IMPROVEMENT MISTAKES
Do it yourself ... and save money. We've all heard it, we've seen the projects on TV and many of us have tried a few. Well, it doesn't always work out the way you planned. Whether they are done to reflect a homeowner’s personal preference or a specific area’s trends, home renovations are a costly investment that should not be taken lightly. Here are some common mistakes we've seen that just might lower the value of your home and tips on how to avoid them.
1. IMPROVING TOO MUCH
Over-improving for your neighborhood is a common mistake many DIY'ers make. Consider any improvement as it relates to the value of the property in general. Putting an expensive kitchen in a median-priced home, may not get you what you think when it's time to sell. Projects should be proportional to what community values can tolerate. The bolder the improvement you make the quicker it will go out of style and bring down your home's value. Most homeowners think they must upgrade all things. The key is to find the 20% upgrades that will add 80% of the value. Most of these will be cosmetic and much cheaper than expected.
2. MESSING UP THE FLOOR PLAN
Take that wall down. Move that bathroom just a little, this way. Turn a closet into a wine cellar. All sound like great ideas until they don't work! Live in your house for a while before making any plans to overhaul. Learn the flow of your home. Where do you put your keys when you come home? Where does laundry want to go? Consider how the sun and lighting occur over the course of the day. Painters tape can be your best friend. Taping out space is so much better than a design app, or any sketch you might create. All of this will inform your choices when you make your plans to change things. "What were they thinking?" is not what you want to hear when someone comes to buy your home.
3. DIY PROJECTS GONE WRONG
We see homes devalued every day by poor workmanship and DIY projects gone wrong. Projects that involve the structure of the home should be left to the professionals. Unless you are a stucco expert, do not try and fix your stucco issues, regardless of how small they seem. Leave the electrical work to a qualified electrician. At the time of sale, an inspector will easily notice poor workmanship and there is a good chance redoing the work will cost double what it would have cost to just do it right the first time.
4. INCONSISTENCY or WRONG CHOICES
The number one inconsistency we see is with flooring. Too many different flooring choices, mismatched flooring, and poor transitions from room to room, and the wrong floor for the need. No sense putting in beautiful hardwood floors if the dog or kids will just scratch them up. Maybe a nice laminate is a way to go? The more uniform and consistent the flooring is, the easier on the eye and for resale.
Number two is simple, If you’re faced with a choice of working on the outside or the inside, start on the outside. No point in putting in a new floor if the roof is getting ready to leak. Gutters, grading, and roofs may sound boring when there are other things to obsess over, but you’ve got to build a solid envelope if you want your house to hold up. We all want nice new kitchens and baths. Check out these alternatives that have a much higher return on investment, according to FORBES MAGAZINE:
- Attic insulation: On average, you will see a 108-116% ROI.
- A new garage door: On average, you will see a 92% ROI.
- Steel entry door: On average, you will see a 91% ROI.
Kitchens and bathrooms are still good, but these are even better!
5. NOT GETTING PERMITS
Permits protect you as a homeowner, as well as protecting the contractor and assure that the work is done safely and completed according to all building code requirements. Work that is structural in nature almost always require some kind of permit. Fences, roofs, air conditioning, decks, and additions are common areas where permits are sometimes omitted. Open permits at the time of a sale can delay closing or even derail deals. Be sure to check with your contractor or county permitting office to assure the work you do is permitted as required.
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