Remodeling Your Home? 2 Big Mistakes You Should Avoid

Posted on: 15 September 2015

As soon as you make the decision to remodel, you might be ready to choose a color palette, hire a contractor, and start picking out new furniture for your updated space. Unfortunately, starting a major remodeling project without calculating your costs and doing a little research might land you in hot water later. Here are two big remodeling mistakes you should avoid so that you steer clear of trouble:

1: Ignoring Building Codes

Sometimes, people make the mistake of assuming that the work they do inside their home is their own business. After all, since you are the one paying the mortgage and cleaning the place, who cares how you change that master suite or renovate your kitchen? However, your construction decisions could affect your home's value, which could affect your insurer, your lender, and your neighbors.

Building codes are designed to protect your home from hazards like floods, fires, and mold damage. To keep people safe, most municipalities ask homeowners to seek building permits anytime they alter, repair, remove, or convert any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system. Your building permit application will be reviewed by city contractors, who will determine whether or not the changes you want to make are in compliance with state building codes. Unfortunately, if you ignore codes or fail to get a permit in the first place, you might suffer these consequences: 

  • Tearing Down New Work: Forget about perfecting that drywall or putting up that backsplash. If you remodel without a building permit, and the city finds out about it, you might be asked to tear down new work and return the space to its preexisting condition.
  • Paying Back Taxes: That new garage add-on might look great, but if you increased the size of your home, you might have to pay retroactive back taxes for the additional square footage.
  • Dealing With Insurance Problems: Unapproved changes might not be covered by your homeowner's insurance policy, which can create a world of trouble if anyone is hurt in your space. For example, if a neighbor kid gets shocked by a live wire during your construction project, your insurer might not foot the bill for the medical bills or lawsuits.

To stay on the safe side, hire a professional contractor to draw up house plans, request building permits, and make the necessary changes. Remodeling contractors can make sure that your project is safe, legal, and correct, so that you don't have to worry about starting from square one.

2: Not Calculating ROI

That remodeling project might seem expensive, but if you are like most people, you might assume that you will make your money back when you sell your house someday. Unfortunately, each project carries a different return on investment, also called an ROI. Simply put, a return on investment is the cost of your project, compared to the amount that it could potentially improve your home's value. Here are a few examples of common home projects, and how well they pay off in the end:

  • Kitchen Upgrades: Believe it or not, you don't have to spend a ton of money in the kitchen to get a big bang for your buck. Minor kitchen remodeling jobs have an average ROI of 81.8%, which means that spending $5,000 on your space could yield a whopping $4,090 return.
  • Remodeling the Home Office: On the other hand, remodeling that home office might not be such a good idea. Research has shown that most homeowners recoup less than half of the cost of an office remodel, which means that you might be better off leaving the space as-is.  

Before you spend thousands of dollars on high-end marble for your kitchen or transform that deck into a sunroom, take the time to carefully analyze average ROI rates in your area. Keep in mind that even high-end remodeling jobs might not matter much if the property values in your area are falling. Consider sitting down with a real estate agent and your remodeling services, so that you can choose projects that will pay off in the long run. 

By doing your research and carefully calculating your budget, you might be able to stay on top of your project and avoid frustrating hassles.