Sellers: Home improvement “don’ts”


Home improvement “don’ts”

There are several things you can do that can actually lower the value of your home or make it more difficult to sell. Here are a few rules to keep in mind:

Do it well, or don’t do it at all
You may be tempted to do a lot of work yourself to save money. That’s fine if you know you can do a good job. But if doing it yourself means a sloppy paint job or bubbles in the vinyl flooring, then I suggest hiring a professional. Hiring an expert can often be cheaper and faster in the long run. This is especially important when dealing with electrical systems or plumbing problems.

Don’t over-improve
Any project that raises your home’s value by more than 20 percent above similar homes in your neighborhood should be reconsidered. The reason is simple. Say your home is typical in a neighborhood of $100,000 homes, and you make $50,000 in improvements. Buyers looking for a $150,000 home are looking in neighborhoods where that is the norm, not the exception.

Don’t plan on moving soon if you’re spending a lot
You probably won’t recoup your investment if you plan to move in less than two years. If you plan to move sooner, spend less money and focus your efforts on the most egregious problems. For example, turn a bad kitchen into a decent one rather than a chef’s kitchen.
Don’t make unique improvements

Sure, you may love the built-in bookcases on every wall of your guest room, but prospective buyers will probably view them as a nuisance to tear out—which means they’ll be less willing to meet your price. Also, avoid remodels that make unusual use of a particular room. Anything that limits flexibility will limit interest in your home.

Don’t create a mess
Make sure your floor plan will make sense when you’re done. Be careful not to make changes that impede the natural flow of the house—closing off halls, doorways, etc. Room additions in particular are often done very poorly. If it looks like something tacked on to the original house, don’t do it. Adding a bedroom whose only connection to the rest of the house is through another bedroom should also be avoided.

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