How First-time Homeowners Can Avoid Costly Mistakes When Improving Their First Home

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Now that you are finally a homeowner, you can now enjoy the freedom that comes with improving the space however you like. But before you let the excitement get the best of you, know this. There are many things that can go wrong if you are not careful when renovating. The last thing you need is to commit expensive mistakes that will only give you more headache than satisfaction in the long run.

You might think that improving a house is quite simple. You only need to identify which projects to take, have enough budget, and start the project. Unfortunately, successful home improvements are not always as easy as they seem to be.

There are far too many preparations you need to take before you pursue home improvement. Without proper planning, risk-mitigating, and budgeting, you can end up with a failed renovation. To ensure you don’t make the same mistakes that too many first-time homeowners made, get to know the following tips.

Never Start a Project Without Thinking About the Future

What are your future plans? Are you planning to raise a family within the next few years? Or maybe you only plan on living in your first home for at least five years before moving to your next house?

Knowing and considering your future plans should be a major consideration of what projects to take. This will help you determine which projects will make sense or will only be a waste of investment. You can make better decisions by taking into account your future plans.

For instance, you plan on selling the house after a few years since this is only your starter home. It only makes sense to focus on projects that will help you boost your home value. This way, you can sell it for a better price.

Consider simple projects with a high return on investment (ROI) like updating your outdated kitchen and bathroom. Install new shower doors in your bathrooms, upgrade the backsplash, or replace old countertops. As for your kitchen, you can refinish old kitchen cabinets, install hardwood floors, and swap out fixtures for a modern, contemporary look.

Check if Renovating Require Permits

Not all home improvement projects will require renovation permits. But for those that do, you need to make sure you secure the necessary permits. Failure to do so can lead to a serious fine or difficulties selling your home in the future.

Building codes vary from one city to another. Contact your local municipality to check if you will need permits before starting any project. Their approval will ensure that your renovation meets local building codes.

Some usual projects that will require a renovation permit are as follows.

  • Siding projects and fences
  • New window projects like skylights
  • Installation or removal of electrical or plumbing
  • Water heater replacement
  • Ventilation system changes
  • Renovations that cost $5,000 or more

Study Your Contractors

client and contractor

It is wise to hire the pros to tackle certain projects that you are not familiar with. Do it yourself (DIY) projects may help you reduce your initial investment. But failure to do the project right and on time can actually cost you more.

When looking for the right contractors, be sure to do your research. Don’t simply choose the first one you saw on the internet. Shop for contractors, check their credentials, and get written estimates before hiring one.

Once you narrowed down your choices to three contractors, choose one that can do the project on your preferred timeline and one you can afford. It would be best to choose the contractor that offers a warranty and has its own insurance. Never forget about reading their agreement before signing.

Weigh Between Renovating One Room at a Time or All at Once

Do you plan on improving more than one room in your home? You might be torn between renovating all at once or do it one at a time. Both options offer their own pros and cons, making it a tricky decision to make.

Renovating one room at a time is advisable if you have a limited budget to work on. This is also true if you plan to DIY the project. But then, tackling one room at a time will feel like the renovation will be a never-ending project.

Generally, experts recommend renovating at once as the project will allow your contractor to work on the project in one go. Your savings will be bigger in the long run. You only need to make another housing arrangement once while waiting for the projects to finish.

Renovating all rooms at once also helps ensure the design is consistent and cohesive throughout the house. But then, the more rooms you need to finish, the longer the timeline will be. Knowing the positives and negatives of a room by room and a full reno will help you decide which one will best suit your situation.

These are but some of the best practices you need to consider when improving your home. Since this is your first time renovating, you don’t want to make mistakes that will cost you more in the future. You can use this list as your guide for a more successful renovation in the future.


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