5 Costly Home Improvement Mistakes New Owners Make

Owning your first home is exciting…and stressful. Now you’re not just responsible for your possessions but the entire structure. It makes sense that you’ll want to improve it, make it better, and do it all as inexpensively as possible. Before you drop some cash on a new upgrade or higher a contractor, make sure you don’t make these costly home improvement mistakes.

Hiring the Cheapest Contractor

Cheaper isn’t always better. That’s true for shoes, cars, and yes, your general contractor. Cost may be a factor you need to consider, but there’s more to it than the fill bill. Check their reviews. Get references. And always get multiple bids or estimates from different companies. When most are within a close price range and one company undercuts everyone in price, that’s a red flag. Going with the cheapest option may mean a future of incomplete and poorly done work and expensive fixes later.

Forgetting to Do Your Research

While you probably shouldn’t use Google as your go-to for medical diagnoses, it can be a great tool for learning about home improvement projects. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring someone to do the work or you want to DIY it, research potential problems first. What do you do if you pull down gutters and find wood rot? What’s your next step if an inaccessible pipe bursts? Every project has a worst-case scenario and a way to handle it. Don’t let yourself be surprised mid-job. And if you’re hiring someone, make sure they can take care of any problems as they arise.

Buying All New Furniture Too Early

As a new homeowner, you may need some new furniture. You may even have the perfect ensemble in mind after you view the home you want to buy. Hold off on buying all new everything and having it delivered on move-in day. First, you don’t want to blow your budget that might be needed for surprise repairs. Yes, that happens more often than you realize. Second, you might buy things that don’t fit the size or feel of your home or your new lifestyle in this house and neighborhood. Take your time and live in your home a little before getting all new furnishings.

Being Realistic About Return on Upgrades

You should make any upgrades to your new home that you need to make, want to make, and can afford to make. If it makes your life easier or it’s something you want, do it. But be realistic about the return you’ll receive when you sell your home later. Not all upgrades are equal and some won’t increase the value of your home much or at all. If a return on your investment is important to you, talk to your Realtor about what upgrades will yield the most potential return on value. But also realize that there’s no guarantee of a specific amount, either.

Tossing Important Paperwork and Receipts

As a homeowner, get used to keeping lots of paperwork. Scan it and keep it digitally or invest in a small file cabinet but don’t throw out receipts or paperwork you receive for upgrades, repairs, fixes, and warranties for things in your home. Not only is this paperwork necessary if something breaks down too soon, it can also help show what changes you’ve made that may increase the value of your home.

It’s normal to be excited and want to make improvements to your new home. Make sure you take your time, do your research, and hire the best people to help you with those improvements. If you do, you’ll spend less money and receive more return on your investment over time.


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