Pocket Guide to Home Improvements

by Rob Woods from www.fixitdads.com

    What to DIY, What Adds Value, When to Hire a Pro, What to Skip

Trying to determine which home renovation projects to complete is a crapshoot. You roll the dice hoping your investment pays off but there’s never any guarantee. Here, we’ll take some of the mystery out of home improvement and shed some light on which projects to do yourself, what upgrades add value, which can be left for another day, and when it’s in your best interest to hand over the reins to a professional.

    Yes, DIY (or at least try)

If you can follow directions, you can handle many simple home improvements projects yourself. Consider installing roll-out shelving in the kitchen, painting the trim and walls, adding a screened canopy to the backyard, and outfitting the closet with a custom-configured organization system. You may also consider building a new mailbox, upgrading interior doors, and swapping outdated light fixtures.

Before you tackle any sort of home improvement project yourself, make sure you have the right tools. Even something as seemingly commonplace as a hammer can make or break your DIY endeavor.

    It’s time to call in the big guns

The kitchen and bath are arguably the two most important rooms of a home. This is especially true when it’s time to cash in on the booming real estate market. Full kitchen and bathroom remodels will certainly attract the attention of all buyers in your price range. But you should never attempt a full renovation on your own. Electrical, plumbing, and even installing countertops in the kitchen and bath require precision. You wouldn’t want to spend $1,000 on new quartz countertops only to realize you mis-measured by an inch and have to start all over again. Likewise, plumbing and electrical work require intimate knowledge of these vital systems and one small mistake could lead to leaky pipes, structural damage, or, more alarmingly, fire hazards.

It’s important to note here that the cheapest bid isn’t always going to be the best value. HomeAdvisor reports that the average price to remodel a kitchen is between $12,689 and $33,233, so get at least three estimates. Also, make sure your contractor provides you with a timeline so you know when to expect completion.

    An impressive ROI

Some home improvements are little more than maintenance tasks and won’t boost your bottom line. Others, such as improved landscaping, bath and kitchen updates, new windows, and high-efficiency appliances, are investments you can’t afford not to make if you’re looking to get the most out of your property.

If your plan is to stay in your home, your return on investment should be calculated based on how much pleasure or use you and your family get out of your remodeling projects. However, when you view your home as a real estate investment, you want to get the most bang for your buck.

Nope

It’s easy to get caught up in customizing your home based on your unique tastes and preferences. But, as ABC News points out, there is simply no point to certain upgrades. An extensive home office remodel, upscale master suite, and custom-built garage might seem like a good idea, but in reality, these projects won’t add any value to your property and have minimal impact on your quality of life.

    The bottom line: unless you’re staying put for years to come, avoid ultra-custom remodeling projects.

Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, pay attention to the kitchen and bath. Your outdoor space is important, too, but don’t go overboard on any of these projects. Get plenty of quotes and avoid renovations that will leave your potential buyers scratching their heads trying to figure out how to undo your grand plan.

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