7 Home Renovation Do’s and Don’ts

Man building with woodAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent $130 billion remodeling their homes last year, 3.1% more than in 2012 and the most since 2007. Whether you’re sprucing up your home to sell or planning a reno for personal reasons, keep in mind the long-term return on your renovation investment.

Here’s how to make smart home investments and avoid fixes that can fall flat. Below are the seven do’s and don’ts for fixes that can pay off.

DO: Install an energy-efficient steel door. Selling your home is all about making a good first impression. And first impressions start at the front door.
DON’T: Install a fiberglass front door. The higher cost won’t mean a higher sale price.

DO: Add a spare room. Converting unused basement or attic space into an extra bedroom opens your home to exponentially more buyers.
DON’T: Add an extra bathroom. Plumbing, wiring and tiling make these small spaces extremely expensive add-ons. (However, if your home has only one bathroom, adding a powder room can be a major selling feature.)

DO: Paint. The cheapest and easiest way to refresh a room is with a new coat of paint. If you do it yourself, the only cost will be for paint and brushes.
DON’T: Wallpaper. Anyone who’s had to remove old wallpaper knows what a dreadful task it can be.

DO: Replace cabinet hardware. Changing the handles in the kitchen and bathroom is a cheap and easy way to add some flair.
DON’T: Remodel your home office. Many buyers will look at built-in shelving and desks as something they’ll have to spend money on converting back to a bedroom.

DO: Landscape your property. A mix of hardy perennials and some vibrant low-cost annuals will give your home that all-important curb appeal.
DON’T: Install an in-ground pool. Many buyers will balk at the ongoing maintenance and be fearful of long-term repair and replacement costs.

DO: Make minor repairs. Scour your house from top to bottom for chipped paint, missing or cracked outlet covers to replace and so on. These low-cost DIY tasks will reap untold rewards.
DON’T: Add a sunroom. They’re expensive to install and, when dated, buyers will be leery of the cost of replacing aging windows.

DO: Upgrade your appliances. Energy-efficient ones may qualify for a rebate (check out this state-by-state directory of available rebates), and you’ll cut back on your utility bills for as long as you’re in the house.
DON’T: Add a backup generator. While the peace of mind may help you weather any storm, buyers will not pay a premium for this addition.

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What’s your dream reno? Tell us below.

By Allan Britnell

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  1. Sara Killinger says

    Thanks for these great tips. I have been wanting to remodel my kitchen recently and wasn’t sure where to start. Thanks for your advice on how to avoid common pitfalls when remodeling your home. This will help me to save money and make informed decisions when approaching this daunting task.

  2. Virginia Davis says

    These are great suggestions! My husband and I have been thinking about getting some repairs done on our home, but we haven’t been sure where to start or if there were things we should avoid. I agree that painting the walls is a nice way to “refresh a room.” In our old house, we go the house repainted, and everything looked so new. Are there any of these repairs that you would recommend hiring someone to do?

  3. Casey Jones says

    Awesome home remodeling tips! Maybe I will look into converting some unused space into bedrooms. We also have a room in our basement that is already plumbed and everything to be a bathroom, we just need to install it. Perhaps we will get that done too.

  4. John Campbell says

    As in all things you must first understand your location and market. Steel doors are a maintenance nightmare in coastal, salt air environments. Swimming pools are almost a requirement for vacation destinations and retirement locations. A generator is a very good thing to have in areas subject to frequent hurricanes or ice storms.

  5. Chase Wilson says

    Good tips! I like the one about getting energy efficient appliances. That’s pretty important to me, I don’t want to use any more energy than I have to. I have been thinking about remodeling my kitchen for the past few years. I think I am ready to do it, but the thing is, I don’t want to hire someone. I want to do it myself. The only thing I am worried about is cleaning everything up after I am done. Do most people rent dumpsters for their trash, or do they just use their city provided dumpster?

  6. Deanna R. Jones says

    Thanks for the post! I agree that it’s better to add a spare room compared to adding an extra bathroom, unless it’s absolutely necessary. You’re right, plumbing, wiring, and tiling a bathroom are all very expensive projects. It seems like there’s a lot of use that could come from a spare room, since it can be used for storage, or as a spare bedroom for guests and family members.

  7. Kent Nelson says

    I have been looking into getting some renovations done, because we need some changes in the house. We can’t afford to move somewhere new, so we will bring the new to us. This list is really helpful, and all of it makes sense. Hopefully I can make some renovations that will truly add to the value of my home.

  8. Vivian Peazer says

    I didn’t know that installing an in-ground pool is a turn-off for buyers. It makes sense, now that you’ve explained why they don’t want to buy a home with one. I’ll make sure I remember this next time my husband asks if we can get a pool.

  9. Kent Nelson says

    This is very helpful. Thank you for sharing. I have been looking into getting a bunch of renovations done at my house, and the kitchen is one of them. I know that everybody loves a remodeled kitchen, and I hope that it adds a lot to my resell value. I don’t know what we will be doing with the rest of the house, but I know that we want to make some serious changes to the kitchen. I can’t wait to see it all finished.

  10. Quin Trent says

    These seven dos and don’ts for home renovations are really good to know. That way I can really keep on top of things and get the renovations I want done in my home done the right way. Do not want to do something that will be bad to do.

  11. Mia Boyd says

    I’ve been thinking about doing some home improvement work on my home. I love how helpful your tips are, especially the one about adding a spare room; that’s genius! It would be so nice to have some extra space. I’m definitely going to need a professional to help me with that one!

  12. Jamarcus Dantley says

    We’ve been looking to remodel our home for some time now. We want to make sure that we do it right the first time. I appreciate your tip about making minor repairs throughout the house. It’s something small that can make your house look a lot better.

  13. Quin Trent says

    These seven home remodeling dos and don’ts are really good to know about. They are really going to prove to be helpful to me since I am starting to remodel my home. Now I will know the things that I should and shouldn’t be doing when I do this whole thing.

  14. Wally West says

    My wife and I have been looking into getting our kitchen renovated, and we are very happy about the decision. We have been wanting to do this for quite a while. I have been looking into getting a contractor out here to give us a bid on the project. I hope that we can get this started soon, because we have been waiting a long time to have an updated kitchen.

  15. JWayne says

    Before renovating your home, decide what you are going to renovate. Have a plan, find out what kind of materials you will need. Make sure you can afford the materials you are planning on purchasing. It seems to me that, today there are so many options for those who want to renovate their home.