Earlier this week we gave you several dos of home buying and remodeling. That was the easy part because it’s the don’ts that trip people up. Remember, you want a home that you’re happy with and comfortable with making some improvements. Not something that you’re continually working on in hopes it will be everything you want. When the time comes to put your house on the market, it should deliver on your investments. If this list seems overwhelming, bookmark this post as a reference. You can thank us later.
Don’t:Rush into buying a home. It can wait. You can rent for a couple of months, store your possessions awhile longer – just don’t rush into a home purchase. Again, it’s the biggest investment you’re likely to make, and you will live in it every day. You have to make sure you will like your house as much tomorrow as you do today, and you have to make sure it’s worth the money. Spend more than you can afford monthly. Speaking of money … overspending on a house has devastating consequences that we’ve all seen since 2008. Going back to our very first “do,” knowing what you need and what you want can protect you from getting yourself into financial trouble. Even if you manage to squeak by paying a high mortgage, you’re robbing yourself of the ability to improve your home, or take vacations, or worse – fix your car when it breaks down. How much house you can afford will be unique to your budget, but the rule of thumb is 25% or less of your monthly take-home pay. Give yourself breathing room. Overlook serious issues. It is easy to fall in love with the “perfect” house. But, it’s better to move on than to ignore a bad layout that will be hard to live with or a structural issue that will be expensive to repair. Some things can be remodeled or repaired reasonably, but other issues will weigh on you every day. Go overboard with trends. Remember, trends can be good – but nobody is wearing bell-bottoms in 2012. When you make major changes to your home, it’s going to be that way for 10, 20 or 30 years. Even though paint might be easy to change, you don’t want to spend several hundred or thousand dollars every year covering the purple you thought was awesome last spring. Art work and furniture can add trendy elements to a room or a whole house without involving a permanent – or semi-permanent – change to the structure. Sacrifice comfort for style. Modern hotels have gotten a lot of notoriety for their trendy décor and pace-setting decoration. But have you sat on one of those lobby chairs recently? I think they were designed to make you get up after 10 minutes. Your home is your comfort zone and resting place, and comfortable no longer equates to ugly. Modern furniture and modern home fixtures are better designed than ever to be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable. Over-improve your home. If you put the Taj Mahal of bathrooms in your starter home, you might surprise your guests, but they’re all going to wonder about you behind your back. Worse than the social issue, though, is that you’ll get a very small return on your investment if your upgrade is too much for your home’s natural value. You can look up houses for sale in your neighborhood, pick the ones that have been remodeled, and then you’ll get a feel for what fits in your home’s price range. On the other hand, if you want a solid gold toilet just for your own, that’s your prerogative! Make permanent additions that few people will want. Well, see solid gold toilet above. A Jacuzzi in the living room, waterfall in the breakfast area and built-in model train tracks all fit in the same category. Seriously, if you never plan to move and you have unique tastes or desires, then make your home everything you dreamed of. But, if you are concerned about the value of your home, odd permanent features can really lower its value. Add a pool to increase value. Pools are great. Pools are fun. Pools can add some value to a home. But, whatever you spend on a pool – expect it to add half that or less to the value of your home when you try to sell it. The value of the pool is in the use you get from it, not from what it adds to your property. Forget about closets. Man, you can never have too much closet space. And, if you don’t have it, it’s usually impossible to add. You’re forced to use dressers, chests and shelves that take up living space. Closets are your friends. Wallpaper. Don’t do it if you plan to sell the house in the near future. Wallpaper of any design is very particular to individual tastes. If you just have to have some wallpaper, use it in moderation – and consider removing it and painting before listing your home. Wallpaper scares off some buyers. Skimp on patios and outdoor features. Just like a gourmet kitchen wows buyers inside your home, a great patio or deck wins hearts in your yard. But mainly, you can create these to fit your desires and lifestyle and they will translate to the tastes of many other people. A patio can become another living room for you in good weather. So, never fear installing an awesome patio cover or barbecue grill – everybody loves them. Stretch your handyman skills beyond your ability. We’re Statewide Remodeling – if every homeowner could remodel a kitchen or install a sunroom, we’d be Statewide Astrophysicists instead. We know everyone can’t do that. We have the resources, the knowledge, the experience, and the manpower to build your dream room from scratch. We think you should do everything you can – that will turn out great – and leave the really complicated stuff to us. We’ll advise you, assist you, and give you the quality work you want in your home.
That wasn't so bad right? If you still have questions, leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer you. If you think we’ve missed a tip, add it in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
Photo courtesy of DuBoixMorguefile and Phongvan00.