If you’re enamored of a trend you've been seeing on websites and in design magazines, it’s likely you’ll tire of it within the year. Choose only remodeling projects with long-lasting appeal, and save the trendy touches for easily changed accents and furnishings. In other words, don’t pay a contractor to paint your whole home Ultra Violet, even if it’s Pantone’s current Color of the Year.
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- 7 Bad Reasons to Renovate Your Home
7 Bad Reasons to Renovate Your Home
You're Trying to Be Trendy
You Want the Biggest, Fanciest House Around
Though you can increase the value of your home by adding square footage or special features, you may have a hard time selling if you over renovate. Why? Buyers generally don’t want to purchase a house that costs significantly more than the neighborhood average. Evaluate the price of comparable homes in the area and aim to improve your property’s value to within 10 percent of that number.
You're Set on a Project Despite Its Low ROI
Sometimes it’s worth undertaking projects with a low return on investment, such as adding a new bathroom, if it improves your comfort and your home's livability. But many cosmetic changes (say, swapping out a perfectly good set of kitchen cabinetry for another) likely won’t have a high ROI if you sell the home and may not be worth the expense.
Your Finances Are Tight
Renovations often cost more than originally planned, so you should wait until you have 15 to 20 percent more than the contractor’s bid in the bank before taking the plunge. Once the project gets underway, there’s no telling what money-draining horrors may be lurking behind the walls, from unforeseen pest damage to building code violations.
The New Design Is Too Custom
Resale value is less important in your "forever" home, but if you’re in a starter home or somewhere in the middle, it’s a good idea to consider what future buyers will want. Quirky or excessive customization—adding brightly colored tiles or vintage appliances, for example—may decrease the value of your home or make it languish on the market.
Zillow Digs home in Tucson, AZ
It’s Bad for the Environment
Remodeling can be very wasteful. In 2014 alone, 534 million tons of construction and demolition debris were generated in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you do pursue a renovation, consider speaking with a LEED consultant to make the project as green as possible. Donate whatever materials you can to reuse centers like your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
It’s Not the Ideal Season
Consider the season before undertaking a remodeling project. Winter is a great time for indoor renovations if you’re looking to save a few dollars, because contractors are usually looking for work in the off-season. For outdoor projects, weather conditions will probably be the determining factor. Plan early and consult with your contractor to nail down the ideal timeline.