Here’s your chance to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid some of the classic problems that can occur to you when you decide to indulge in a bit of home improvement.
Location, Location, Location
Remember, the best time to consider selling your property is when you are buying. The most beautiful renovations aren’t going to give you great returns if your property backs onto the local rubbish site or a major road. Getting the location right is essential; being in the wrong neighbourhood means you are stung before you’ve even started.
Preparing a Work Plan
A day-by-day calendar outlining each portion of your work and how many hours it will take to complete is essential to keep to your time frame. It will keep you on schedule and give you a realistic time frame from beginning to end. For example, tiling a room will take more than a day because it takes 24 hours for the area to cure and dry, then a further 24 hours until you can walk on it.
There do not appear to be many hard and fast rules between different cities about acquiring permits. It is always worth getting a license because it is against the law not to comply if required. Here are some reasons to do so.
Inspectors will help to ensure the job is done correctly and to code. Many buyers don’t want to buy a home that has had work done without a permit. Also, if you’re reported, and an inspector discovers you have completed a job without a permit, you might be required to take your work apart and start again.
It is good practice to itemize every bit of material in your estimates, including items such as the cost of nails, staples, and tape. All these mundane items add up. Account for approximately 15% of the budget for materials to be wasted. Add another 30% for price increases, especially if you’re not buying all your materials in one go.
Are You Qualified For the Job?
Some projects simply require more than one person. Be careful not to over-extend yourself, especially if working at heights or carrying heavy loads; get someone else to help. Before you start a job, make sure that you have the skills to complete the work yourself rather than get halfway and have to quit, and call in a professional company.
Plan for the Unexpected
It’s a good idea to allow room in your budget for unpleasant surprises you could discover during work. A pest infection will require eradication and possibly even structural repair if the damage is extensive. You may find hidden wiring that needs to be removed or replaced, pipes that need to be moved or rerouted, or moisture problems that have rotted away joists or sills.
Get a Home Inspection
Always get a home inspection before you buy. Make sure you hire a licensed and accredited inspector to perform the task, not someone you know through a friend who knows a bit about housing. It would help if you got a qualified inspector. Ensure you are there for the inspection and pay incredibly close attention to any safety concerns the inspector may have.
Use the Right Tools for the Job
When it comes to tools, you are better off buying professional tools that are made to perform specific jobs. A low power cordless drill won’t drive six-inch screws through a beam!
Being safe is the most important part of doing this kind of work.
Make sure you wear goggles when using any power saw, avoid standing on the top rung of a ladder, and always hit the main breaker if you’re working with electricity.
Don’t Buy Cheap Materials
Buyers will notice if you skimp on materials and need your work’s quality to show in your property. If you are a careful shopper, you can get discounts on brand-name materials that will allow prospective buyers to estimate how much you’ve spent on the property. Even better, you won’t be getting phone calls after escrow closes complaining about faulty appliances or cracks appearing around the home.
Estimating the Resale Value of Your Property
It’s wise to check the comparable sales of similar homes in the neighbourhood to see if the improvements you are making are in line with other properties in the area. You can avoid over-improving this way. If you plan for the lower end of these sales figures as a return on your investment, then anything over that is a bonus.