Remodeling 101

Home improvements can be fun. Not only is the process of fixing up your own home fun, it can be greatly rewarding as well. If you choose your projects wisely and don’t bite off more than you can chew, you may even succeed in adding value to your home. Many people will remodel if they are going to sell their home, and in those instances, it is even more important that you get back what you spend in remodeling, if not make a few bucks while you’re at it. As with any projects, there is usually a laundry list of do’s and don’ts that come with every undertaking. Here are some tips worth looking in to before you start tearing up your kitchen flooring.

Remodeling 101

Don’t Run Out of Money

If you have ever done any remodeling you already know how hard it can be to estimate the cost or time frame of any project; especially the larger more labor intensive projects. Many people assume that if they do run out of money they can just refinance their home and take a little cash out to cover the remainder of the project. The problem here is that very few lenders will allow you to do that. Make sure you can finish a project before you begin and you’ll save yourself a migraine in the future. You’ll have a more difficult time selling the home as well for several reasons. An unfinished project just does not make a good impression on prospective buyers. They will be wondering why you never finished the project. Is it because it cost way more than expected, or maybe there is some reason it can’t be done. Maybe knocking out that wall to open up the living room is compromising the structural integrity of the house. You don’t want buyers walking away with these questions in their minds. If you’re not positive you can finish, don’t start in the first place.

Judging a Book by its Cover

You know the old saying about not judging a book by its cover, right? Well, if you’re selling your home everyone driving by will be judging your home by its “cover.” For that reason don’t neglect appearances. A little landscaping and a coat of paint can do wonders for a house with a little wear and tear. When you do get around to painting don’t choose a color that is going to alienate half your buyers. Your house should stand out because of its professional quality paint job and not it’s outrageous color. Your buyers should not have to have your exact taste in color in order to appreciate what you have done with the place. Look around the neighborhood and find out what colors are prevalent and what color will fit in, while standing out. The same goes for interior paint as well. Don’t force your odd taste on anyone else. The other thing that can make or break your homes good first impression is the yard. Maybe your grass is nice but the overall landscape is a little blah. You don’t have to get a complete landscaping makeover or anything like that, but a little detail work goes a long way. Try putting in new ground cover like those pale wood chips; they always look nice. You could also go with different rocks like gravel or other barks. You might want to separate the different parts of your yard with stones or something like that that makes the overall area look stylish. All of these things do not take long and are relatively inexpensive. Like I said, sometimes just cleaning up a little can do wonders.

Work With What You Have

Sometimes the best, inexpensive projects are just altering what is already there. You may not be able to afford replacing the living room carpet, but can you afford a nice large area rug? They can really liven a place up. Turning a useless room into a room that buyer attach a premium too is always a good idea. Converting that room into another full bath will likely get you your money back and some extra when you go to sell the place. Avoid things like structural changes. If you are planning on doing something that could change the structure of your home the cost is going to shoot up. You will also have to check with your city or county’s zoning laws first. Don’t do anything that violates any building codes or you will not be able to sell or refinance your home. Work with what you have. Take great care where you put any new materials. New materials can make older ones look even worse. Installing new kitchen counters while not replacing the sink for example, will make the old one look even shabbier. Bite the bullet and do them both. Buyers love a big kitchen and you might consider enlarging yours. If that can’t be done without cannibalizing part of your living room or your dining area you may want to reconsider that. On the other hand, if you have to completely create the new square footage for a larger kitchen, it’s going to cost you a lot more and you may run afoul of zoning restrictions. Use extreme care when considering such a task.

A Dollar Spent

When it comes to remodeling, a dollar spent is not always a dollar you’ll see back when you sell the home. Your ability to recoup what you spend in part is determined by the trends in your area, and what people near you value most. Take a tour of your neighborhood to see what people value most, then do any projects as cheaply as you can. And finally, don’t start anything unless you are sure you can finish it.