Angie's List: Three home improvement blunders to avoid
It's Spring, a time for home improvement projects. Experts advise homeowners to tackle projects designed to increase your home's value.
Shortly after moving in to her new home, Heidi Birkey discovered a plumbing problem that cost her more than $500 to fix.
"The plumbing under the sink is really old and it was all metal plumbing so when he took it apart it fell apart in his hands. He snaked it and even changed the vent boot up on the roof and still we couldn't get any clog to come out. I had the plumbers to come out three different times and finally they had to replace the plumbing in kitchen. That was a big expense I wasn't expecting," said Birkey.
There are countless home improvement projects you can invest in, but experts say don't go into project-planning overdrive. You need to be selective because not every project will add value to your home. Real Estate Agent Nancy Burk says when you do choose a project, it's important to follow through.
"There are a lot of times we'll meet with a potential seller and they'll say 'oh and we just finished doing our kitchen floor. We've installed a new bathroom floor, or we've put in a new shower enclosure and my husband and I, who work together, hold our breath because typically the homeowner may start a project with great enthusiasm and fails to finish out the project," said Burk.
Experts say if you want to add value with your home improvement projects, there are three common mistakes you should avoid.
"Be sure that you balance your needs and your wants, maybe you want a new deck, but you need a new furnace and only have money for one. Be sure you invest in those needs first because it will be a better return on your money," said Angie Hicks, Angie's List Founder.
You also want to avoid over-investing in your home.
"Remember kitchen and bathrooms are the best things to invest in because they get the best return on investment, usually around 85%. But don't over invest here. The goal is to keep up with the Jones, but don't be the leader in your neighborhood. If your neighbors all have two bathrooms, don't put three in your house," said Hicks.
Experts say unless yours is the only house on the block without a pool, it's not a good idea to install one. In most cases, you won't get back even half of the money you spent when it's time to sell the house. And typically home offices and sunrooms aren't a good idea either. A buyer may want that space for something else - like a bedroom or playroom.
The return on the investment for these projects is about 60% or less.