Across the country, home values are rising and inventory is falling, leaving many homeowners to decide whether to sell their homes while the market is hot or use their equity to make desired renovations. Either scenario can cause homeowners to engage in home improvement projects that may be unnecessary and/or expensive.
Here are five common mistakes to avoid when considering a home improvement project.
Not getting too much better
Homeowners often run through the list of all the excessive improvements they have just completed for sale during the seller’s presentation. By going beyond costly and unnecessary upgrades, you may have overestimated the value of your home and won’t get the return on investment you anticipated.
When an appraiser goes out to appraise a home, they focus on similarities such as square footage, age of the property, and lot size. A small amount will be allocated for “upgrades”, but not much; therefore, save the money you were going to spend on the gold toilet to use for something that will add value. If you’re upgrading to resell your home, don’t overdo your uniqueness, less is more. Keep in mind that incorporating neutral finishes and color combinations will help you avoid a dated appearance when selling.
Hire the wrong contractor
Avoid deciding to hire a contractor because he or she may have the “cheapest” fees. Hiring a contractor based on price can end up costing you more in the long run. Make sure you have done your due diligence BEFORE signing on the dotted line. Gather a list of at least 3-4 licensed, bonded and insured contractors, preferably proven references. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their most recent projects and previous clients you can contact. Avoid the mistake of not asking them for a realistic turnaround time, and most importantly, make sure their rates match your budget and expectations. We also strongly recommend NOT paying a contractor for the entire project up front; pay for them as you go so you don’t waste your money or end up with an incomplete project you paid full price for. Now is not the time to avoid talking about money, when you improve your house, time is money!
Don’t forget the permit process
It’s not uncommon for clients to start a home improvement project with the mindset, “I can renovate whatever I want in MY house.” In many local municipalities, some projects will require permit before any improvement. Building codes change frequently, so what was once compliant could very well be in violation by the time you’re ready to start your project. By ensuring you have these permits in place, you will avoid costly penalties and fines.
Underestimating improvement costs
The budget process should not start when renovations begin; It is recommended that you research the average cost of the improvements you are considering before undertaking the project. It is also wise to set aside extra funds in the budget for unexpected expenses you may incur. Do not hesitate to ask for the discount on materials or services available from several suppliers.
Start with one project at a time
Jumping over multiple home improvement projects can be tedious and expensive. Identify your improvement goal. Are you selling the house, getting it ready for tenants, or just upgrading it for that “new home” feel? Once you have identified your goal, you will be able to assess which area you should go into first. If you’ve decided that the kitchen is most important to you, start and finish there before moving on to the next area.
There’s nothing worse than showing a house to a potential buyer with several unfinished projects scattered throughout the house. Jumping from room to room can also make you feel like nothing is getting done, which can add unnecessary frustration and stress. Just like the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” neither should your home improvement project.
Consider these tips before you begin your home improvement project. Change is always good, but it can be great when done right!
With a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, numerous lifetime achievement awards and a New Edition mini-series watched by over 30 million people, Ronnie aka Big Ron, has cemented his reputation as a creator, performer, visionary and later in his legendary career, a shrewd businessman.
After living in Los Angeles for 16 years, DeVoe moved to Atlanta in 2001 to establish himself as an entrepreneur outside of the music industry. To do this, he returned to a love he had of real estate in high school before his rise to stardom. In 2002 he became a licensed agent at Re/max and in 2006 he founded his own company called DeVoe Broker Associates, now -dba- DeVoe Real Estate.
Based in Atlanta, the company specializes in residential and commercial sales in the United States and around the world. Ron is also an advocate for closing the gap and changing the disparities between haves and have-nots in home ownership. He has also participated in panel discussions focusing on fair housing, home ownership, wealth creation and more.
In addition to being CEO of Marvetta Bozeman Real Estate Solutions, she is Principal Broker for DeVoe Broker Associates alongside Ronnie DeVoe of New Edition and is an active partner of several charities in the Metro Atlanta area. She is a Certified Master Facilitator and active mentor with the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Empire Board of Realtists, and an esteemed member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.
With education as the cornerstone of her life, she earned her Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Science degrees from the prestigious Mercer University, followed by a Doctorate in Business Administration from Walden University.
In addition to her college degrees, Marvetta continued the legacy of continuing education by becoming a Certified Real Estate Instructor and, most recently, founder of Mission Bound Real Estate and Business Academy. Ms. Bozeman holds several certifications, including: Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®), At Home with Diversity Certified (AHWD®), Sellers Representative Specialist (SRS®), Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource Certified (SFR®), and is certified in 2019. of the Atlanta Realtors Association’s Emerging Leaders Program and is currently Chair of the Association’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council.