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Costly Home Renovation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

It’s always a good idea to keep looking for ways to improve your home. After all, a house is often the largest investment you will make in your lifetime. It’s not just the place you relax after a hard day at work and raise your family over the passing years. It’s also a reliable piece of capital that you will eventually call upon to help you afford important purchases, buy another, larger home or perhaps retire with a bit more comfort and security. Those nagging issues that just bug you today will drag down the final asking price when you put your home on the market so certainly tackle renovation projects when you have money available. But you have to be smart about the process, or else you’ll end up spending far too much money and taking a loss in the long run. Here are some costly home renovation mistakes and how to avoid them.

The first mistake you might make is not setting a budget. Even the simplest renovation project has to be planned down to the last detail, and if you don’t have a budget in mind you will always spend more than is necessary. You need those parameters that force you to think creatively and solve problems without simply throwing more money around. And if you think a budget of “whatever it takes” will suffice, be prepared to be taken for a ride by anyone you bring in to work on the job.

Speaking of folks you bring in for your renovation, make sure anyone you hire is a qualified professional. It will definitely be tempting to take the lowest estimate put forth by a contractor, electrician, plumber or handyman. But in this world you definitely get what you pay for. You might end up with someone that doesn’t really know what he is doing. And if you don’t do your research, you might miss uncovering his poor track record, with a string of unhappy clients left behind to fend for themselves. These charlatans will make all sorts of promises, but may not be able to deliver, meaning you’ll just have to have the work redone. And if they aren’t properly licensed and insured you can get in all sorts of trouble.

You also have to avoid skimping on materials. This is another area where cheaper is rarely better. That doesn’t mean you have to purchase the absolute top of the line, but take the time to look into the manufacturers of anything you need. You’ll want all of your renovations to stand the test of time, and if you skimp on supplies you’ll be seriously unhappy with the results. You might end up with a drafty new addition, a dangerous electrical job or a leaking roof that truly defeats the whole purpose. And you’ll spend more than double just to fix this mistake.

You must also make sure that the renovation you are considering will offer a solid return on your investment. While most renovations add value to your home, they won’t all make up for the construction expense. For example, digging an in-ground pool is an attractive idea, but it’s a costly endeavor that won’t pay for itself over time. Buyers are wary, because they take so much money to maintain. The same goes for adding on a bedroom. You’ll be much better off improving an existing bathroom or finishing off the basement if you need more usable space. Those will pay dividends when you are ready to sell.

Finally, know your limits as a home improvement expert. All homeowners like to take on the DIY handyman mantle from time to time, but there are certain things you must leave to the professionals. You can almost always handle the demolition yourself, and that will save you money. But don’t try to tackle new electrical or plumbing installs. You’re much better off leaving that to the NX projects pros who actually know what they are doing. Otherwise you could break expensive materials, do a shoddy job or even send yourself to the emergency room.

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