4 costly renovation mistakes to avoid


You’ve saved some money and you’re ready to start a home improvement project. Whether the updates are to get your home ready for the market or just for your own enjoyment, you want to be smart about this investment.

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As a savvy homeowner, you know that not all home renovations provide equal returns. So you want to choose a project that will increase the value of your property. Here’s a rundown of four costly home improvement mistakes you don’t want to make, along with budget-friendly alternatives that are definitely worth your money.

Niche Updates

Your home is your image, so you might be tempted to embark on a bespoke renovation that reflects your interests. However, Isabelle Emond, real estate broker and owner of RE/MAX Ocean Surf and Sun, based in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, recommended against making excessive upgrades specifically tailored to your preferences.

“Converting an extra room into a knitting room, turning the garage into a games room or installing wine cellars can make it difficult to find buyers, because not everyone will share
your interests,” she said. “You should avoid these deluxe rooms as most buyers would rather have the extra space as a blank slate, rather than [have to] modify it according to their tastes, if they decide to buy your property.

Options: How to Maximize Space in a Small Bedroom: 7 Affordable Solutions

For reference, the average cost to build a wine cellar is $40,000, while converting a garage to living space costs around $14,419, according to HomeAdvisor.

Instead of: If you have the funds and are committing to a major project, consider converting your basement into living space. This is more universally appealing as many buyers want to use the garage for its intended purpose.

Converting your basement into living space costs about $46,900 and you can expect to recoup 64% of the costs, according to the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, published by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Realtors® .

If your budget isn’t that big, but you still want to take on a big project, consider adding a new roof. It’ll cost an average of $7,500 and you’ll likely recoup 107% of the cost, according to the Remodeling Impact Report.

See: 5 affordable ways to transform every room in your home

High-end kitchen renovation

A kitchen is the heart of the home, so you might think no monetary value is too high to invest in it, but Emond says that’s not the case.

“Avoid redesigning the kitchen with the latest smart appliances with overly fancy features that a buyer wouldn’t appreciate,” she said. “Renovating too much to the point of not recovering your initial investment is a bad choice.”

While innovative devices can be fun for you in the short term, Emond said it’s best to focus on upgrades that appeal to the masses.

“Instead of rebuilding a kitchen to be super smart, redo the cabinets, change the backsplash and repaint the walls, because those features are easier and cheaper for the buyer to change.”

You’ll also save a lot of money by opting for a high-end kitchen renovation, as the average cost for this type of project is $149,079 – with 53.9% of costs recouped – according to the magazine’s Cost vs Value report. Remodeling 2021.

Instead of: Transforming your mid-priced kitchen remodel offers some serious savings. If you’re looking for a total overhaul, a major mid-range kitchen renovation costs an average of $75,571 – with a return on investment of 57.4% – while a minor kitchen renovation costs around $26,214, with 72 .2% of costs recovered, according to Remodeling magazine.

Find: 26 home improvement ideas that each cost less than $500

waterfall counters

Speaking of kitchen upgrades, if you’re considering jumping on the popular waterfall countertop trend, Martha McNamara, product design and curation manager at Vevano Home, a company that provides kitchen design services virtual interiors and specializes in major home renovations, advised against it. .

“While they’re a nice statement piece, it often doubles the price of your countertop,” she said.

Expect to spend $40 to $100+ per square foot of stone slabs for a waterfall countertop and up to $100 per square foot for installation, according to Caesarstone. While the site notes that these costs are comparable to what you would pay with a conventional countertop, it is these manufacturing costs of up to $2000 and resealing costs of $200-1200 – required up to two times a year with granite – which really drives up the price.

Instead of: If you’re in doubt about that waterfall countertop, McNamara suggested finished cabinet panels that extend the depth of the overhang as a great alternative. She said this option is also more versatile and can work with more traditional styles, whereas the waterfall countertop is hard to pair with anything other than a modern look.

Overall, expect to spend an average of $3,068 to install a countertop, including materials and labor, according to HomeAdvisor.

Start now: 20 insider tips for saving money on every part of your home

Home gyms

At the start of the pandemic, home gyms were all the rage, but Ben Fisher, a luxury real estate agent with the Fisher Group in Salt Lake City, Utah, said that trend had gone out of fashion.

“If you really want to do some serious exercise at home, you can just buy a treadmill for running and a few other materials like a dumbbell, jump rope and the like,” he said.

The average cost to build a home gym is $2,000, according to HomeAdvisor. Luckily, there’s no shortage of better home improvement options for your money.

Instead of: It’s not the most exciting upgrade, but an insulation upgrade costs around $2,400 and you’ll recoup around 83% of the cost, according to the Remodeling Impact Report.

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