Home improvement is something that many homeowners enjoy, whether they do it themselves or work with a professional. It’s a way to breathe new life into an old house or make a newly purchased one feel more like a fit for your lifestyle. But it can be easy to overspend or go into debt on renovations, especially when you don’t have a plan in place. Here are a few tips to help you set up your next home improvement project for success.
1. Choose projects that add value.
If you’re planning to put your house on the market, it’s essential that you do some research into which projects will add the most value. This is because your home’s value is based largely on its livable square footage, and the more square feet you have, the higher your home’s price will be. Bathroom and kitchen remodels are always a good bet for adding value, as are any additions that increase living space, such as finished basements or decks.
Also keep in mind that buyer preferences vary by market, so you’ll want to focus on what’s popular and valuable in your area rather than a general national trend. That said, there are some projects that can be safe bets for increasing your home’s resale value, such as painting and basic landscaping.
2. Use a model or design tool.
Using a model or design tool, such as Floorplanner, before starting your home remodeling project can help you get a better sense of the results and how much it will cost. It can also save you money by preventing you from spending more than necessary or allowing you to identify potential problems before they become costly issues. And don’t forget to add a 10-15% buffer to your budget estimates, as things almost never turn out exactly how you expect.
3. Don’t outpace your neighbors.
The last thing you want to do is outpace your neighborhood in terms of home improvements, as that can be a real deterrent for potential buyers. If you have a glitzy fountain in your yard while most of the houses on your block are simple and low-maintenance, your home is going to look overpriced and dated.
4. Don’t go into debt.
Finally, it’s important to remember that going into debt for a home improvement project is not only expensive, but it can also negatively impact your credit score. It’s a good idea to save up to pay for any major renovations, and if you do need to take out a loan, consider an FHA or Fannie Mae mortgage, which are both federally insured and come with lower interest rates than unsecured loans. A HELOC is another option, as it’s a revolving line of credit secured by your home equity.