One of the best ways to add value to your house is through a home improvement project. However, there are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to remodeling.
Here are six critical mistakes to avoid:
- Not talking to your real estate agent ahead of time. Before you decide on any renovations or remodeling projects, it’s imperative that you sit down and discuss your plans with your real estate agent first. Their knowledge of which home improvements projects are beneficial—as well as their knowledge of current remodeling trends—is very important. Also, they’ll be able to provide you with references for trusted contractors.
- Focusing only on cosmetic areas and not on structural issues. Too many homeowners spend their remodeling dollars solely on more superficial areas rather than on structural areas. Having a new master bathroom may be your dream, but you should also concentrate on your home’s wiring, plumbing, walls, roof, and foundation. Ignoring these areas could cause major problems—along with major expenses—down the road.
- Making improvements that aren’t equal to your home and neighborhood. Overdoing it with your remodeling project can be a problem as well. For example, an upscale kitchen remodel—complete with state-of-the-art appliances and high-end countertops—may not be right for your home and may be a turn-off to potential buyers when it comes time to sell. Your agent can help you decide if your project is appropriate for your home.
- Not vetting your contractor. To avoid getting burned by shady workmanship, make sure you interview several contractors and vet them thoroughly. Along with your real estate agent’s referrals, you should also consider referrals from business associations, your local government and personal or professional contacts. Also, make sure your contractor is licensed and insured and can provide you with a written estimate for all work.
- Attempting a DIY project—when it’s not a DIY project. Even if you fancy yourself as being pretty handy around the house, you should know your limitations. Tackling a project that’s too much for you can be expensive if a contractor has to come in and fix what you’ve done incorrectly. Saving money by doing a project yourself is certainly nice, but don’t bite off more than you can chew.
- Not getting the proper permits and ignoring regulations. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or having a professional do it, make sure you get the proper permits and stick to all regulations and codes. Bypassing the permit process or completing a project that’s not up to code can cause big headaches when you sell your home, not to mention the fact that it could be very dangerous for you, your family and your contractor. ∆
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