Home improvement, or renovating your house, is a constant for most homeowners. It might be a new kitchen, bathroom or deck; it could also be some much-needed landscaping or a new roof. No matter what the project, it’s safe to say that homeownership awakens the inner Bob Vila in all of us, even those who know nothing about home renovations or DIY. The key is to be prepared and plan wisely, especially when it comes to budgeting for a project.
While it’s important to consider a project’s potential return on investment, there are other factors that should come first. If something isn’t working or is in danger of not working, it needs to be addressed immediately before it becomes a bigger problem. This includes things like faulty wiring, a leaking roof or a termite infestation.
If you’re going to be hiring someone to do the work for you, make sure you check their credentials and insurance policy. You should also ask for references and talk to previous customers. If you’re unsure how to find qualified contractors, some local organizations have lists of licensed and insured professionals. You can also try websites that act as a middleman between you and the contractor.
When it comes to planning your home improvements, you should always have a vision for the finished product in mind. This helps you stay on track with the project and makes it less likely that last-minute changes will derail the entire process. It’s also a good idea to use 3D modeling and design tools to get a feel for how the results will look, especially when it comes to larger remodels.
It’s also a good idea to have some cash on hand, if possible, to cover unexpected expenses. Reyes recommends having at least three to six months of emergency savings before starting a major project. However, he does note that some projects can take months, so be sure you have enough in the bank to meet your payment schedule if you’re using credit.
Whether you’re looking to sell your house in the future or just want to enjoy it more, consider ways to increase its value. The most valuable improvements are ones that add livable space, like an extra bedroom or a finished basement. Depending on where you live, adding a garage or pool might also increase your home’s value.
Before you start a new home improvement, consult with a realtor in your area to learn about what renovations are most likely to add value in your neighborhood. It’s also a good idea for homeowners to consider talking to a financial planner to discuss the best financing options. A HELOC (home equity line of credit) is one option to consider, because it allows you to borrow against the equity in your home, which can help you keep your payments manageable. But be careful not to overspend on renovations that will only add a small amount of value to your home.