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Across the nation, home values are rising, and inventory is decreasing leaving many homeowners deciding whether to sell their homes while the market is hot or use their equity to complete desired renovations. Either scenario may cause homeowners to engage in home improvement projects which may be unnecessary and/or costly.
Here are five common mistakes to avoid when considering a home improvement project.
Homeowners often run down the list of all the excessive upgrades they’ve just completed in preparation to sell during the seller’s presentation. By going above and beyond with expensive and unnecessary improvements, you may have out-priced the value of your home and will not obtain the return on the investment you were anticipating.
When an appraiser goes out to appraise a home, they focus on similarities such as square footage, property age and lot size. A small value will be allocated for “upgrades,” but not much; therefore, save the money you were going to spend on the gold toilet to use on something that will add value. If you are improving to resale your home, don’t overdo your uniqueness, less is more. Keep in mind incorporating neutral finishes and color schemes will help you avoid a dated appearance when it’s time to sell.
Hiring the Wrong Contractor
Avoid deciding to hire a contractor because he or she may have the “cheapest” fees. Hiring a contractor based on the price may end up costing you more money in the long run. Make sure you have done your due diligence PRIOR to signing on the dotted line. Gather a list of at least 3-4 licensed, bonded and insured contractors, preferably referrals with a proven track record of success. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their most recent completed projects and previous clients you can contact. Avoid the mistake of not asking them for a realistic timeframe for completion and most importantly make sure their rates align with your budget and expectations. We also strongly recommend NOT paying a contractor for the entire project up front; pay them as they go so you are not bamboozled out of your money or end up with an incomplete project that you’ve paid full price for. This is not the time to avoid talking about money, when improving your home, 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 what I want in MY home.” In many local municipalities certain projects will require specific permits prior to any enhancements. Building codes change frequently, what may have once been compliant could very well be a violation by the time you are prepared to start your project. Ensuring you have these permits in place will avoid costly penalties and fines.
Underestimating Improvement Costs
The budget process should not start when the renovations start; it’s good practice to research the average cost of improvements you are considering prior to taking on the project. It’s also wise to set aside additional funds within the budget for unexpected costs you may incur. Don’t hesitate to ask for the discount on materials or services that are available from multiple vendors.
Start With One Project at a Time
Jumping on multiple home improvement projects can be cumbersome and expensive. Identify your purpose for improving. Are you selling the home, preparing it for renters or simply upgrading for that “new home” feel? Once you’ve identified your purpose you will be able to gauge what area you should embark on first. If you decided the kitchen is most important to you, start and finish there before moving onto the next area.
There’s nothing worse than showing a house to a prospective buyer with several unfinished projects scattered throughout the home. Jumping from room to room may also leave you feeling as if nothing is getting accomplished, which may add undue frustration and stress. Just like the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” so neither should your home improvement project.
Consider these tips before starting your home improvement project. Change is always good, but it can be excellent when executed properly!
With a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, numerous lifetime achievement awards and a New Edition miniseries watched by over 30 million people, Ronnie aka Big Ron, has solidified his reputation as a well-rounded creative, performer, visionary and later in his legendary career, a savvy 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 so, 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 with Re/max and in 2006 he founded his own company called DeVoe Broker Associates, now –dba- DeVoe Real Estate.
Headquartered in Atlanta, the company specializes in residential and commercial sales across the US and around the world. Ron is also an advocate for closing the gap and changing the disparities between the haves and have nots in home ownership. He has also served on panel discussions focusing on fair housing, ownership, wealth creation and more.
In addition to being CEO of Marvetta Bozeman Real Estate Solutions, she serves as Principal Broker of DeVoe Broker Associates alongside New Edition’s Ronnie DeVoe and is an active partner with multiple Metropolitan Atlanta charitable organizations. She’s 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 a lifelong cornerstone, she earned her Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Science from the prestigious Mercer University followed by a Doctor of Business Administration from Walden University.
In addition to her college degrees, Marvetta has carried out the continuing education legacy by becoming a licensed real estate instructor and most recently the founder of Mission Bound Real Estate and Business Academy. Ms. Bozeman holds multiple certifications including: Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®), At Home with Diversity Certified (AHWD®), Sellers Representative Specialist (SRS®), Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource Certified (SFR®), and was a 2019 graduate of the Atlanta Realtors Association Emerging Leaders Program and currently serves as Chairperson of the Associations Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council.