- Use a professional
- Talk to a Realtor first
- Use a professional
Use a Professional
Use a professional.
Use a professional.
The only exception is never. Use a professional.
I emphasize this because I am a Killeen Realtor. You have no idea how many homes I’ve shown where homeowners did a DIY job and it is obvious. So obvious, and so, so bad.
These are some of the costliest mistakes a homeowner can make. DIY jobs seldom are the types of jobs you can just touch up. Usually fixing it not only requires redoing the job completely, but also spending more undoing the job that you did. An unprofessional paint job (by far the most common DIY disaster I see) costs $1200-$3000 to fix for a professional painter, and might take several coats to cover up the neon red you thought was chic, and repaint the otherwise perfectly good ceiling you accidentally got splotches on.
I see DIY flooring all the time, too. Laminate planks are easy, right? Just lock them together and rent a saw from The Home Depot. You could save $1000! Well, I am telling you right now, please dear baby Jesus do not do that. I have seen too many bad room transitions, misaligned joints, flooring that does not run under the baseboards. Just stop. And if you’re thinking about doing a DIY tile job, just slap yourself until you have amnesia and have forgotten the idea altogether.
I just cannot emphasize enough how important it is to hire a professional when making improvements to your house. When showing renters or buyers in the future, it will show. What you think is “good enough” is going to stand out like a sore thumb when the house is vacant and your future not-buyer is staring at the termite-infested-DIY-rotten-patio-death-trap that is going to cost them money to remove.
Check out my list of recommended vendors if you have a project in mind to get it done right!
Think Twice Before Converting or Adding On
Garage conversions and converting the back porch into an add-on. More square footage means your home is worth more, right?
Ehhh, probably not. Not in the Fort Hood area, at least.
Firstly, converting a garage does indeed give you more square feet (if done correctly, and … with a professional!). But…you just lost a garage, and that was worth something, too. In my opinion, converting the garage is, at best, a wash when it comes to the value of your home.
Likely you will end up a little worse because A) you spent money converting it for no gain to your home value, and B) most buyers in our area like having a garage. If on the market, you will be appealing to a narrower buyer demographic who is okay with walking out to their baking hot car in the Texas summer or frozen windshield in the Texas winter. Those people exist, but keeping your house as broadly appealing as possible is ideal when it comes to resale value.
Similar to converted garages, converting the back porch or even adding onto the house is popular. But those will not add value if you do it poorly (use a professional!). 9/10 converted porches I’ve seen in our market were not done well. They just look like weird rooms that are often hot and irregularly shaped that just confuse buyers. You aren’t likely to the full square foot value for that addition.
Don’t Forget Deed Restrictions
I highly recommend reviewing your deed restrictions before making certain improvements. This is not just for homes in HOAs. Most neighborhoods in the Fort Hood area have deed restrictions. Common improvements that may be prohibited by the deed restrictions include:
- Solar Panels (often prohibited from being on the home facing the street)
- Turning a home into a multi-family home
- Storage Buildings
- Fences (sometimes restricted to 6′ or 8′ tall and not in the front yard)
- Restrictions on exterior paint colors, including fence
- Window Unit A/Cs
- Obstructive landscaping
The best time to get copies of your deed restrictions is when purchasing your home. Your title company likely can provide you a copy.
The County Clerk meanwhile would have copies as well.
Check Out Local Homes For Sale
That project on HGTV might look sweet, but it might not fit your area. If you are looking for upgrade ideas and designs, look at local homes. Go to your favorite agent’s website (like Hood Homes Blog) and look at homes for sale near you. What do your neighbors have that you like?
Another reason to keep local is to keep in mind resale value. In a low price point area like the Killeen market, there isn’t a lot of room to upgrade the price of your home by spending money on it. The classic example is a pool. You can spend a lot of money on a pool, generally starting in the $30,000 range and going up. A $70,000 pool isn’t going to add $70,000 worth of value to your home. Probably about half of that, if you’re lucky.
Get a Realtor’s Opinion
Lastly, go find your favorite local Realtor and ask their opinion. Find out if your project is adding value, neutral, or perhaps even taking value away from your home.
Just because a project is a net negative doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but you should at least know that before going in, especially if you know you will be moving within 5-10 years. That will allow you to make an educated decision about how important that project is to you.
Your Realtor has been in hundreds if not thousands of local homes. They have worked with dozens if not hundreds of buyers and sellers. They can be a great asset when deciding what buyers and sellers like.
It’s your home! Most of this is personal preference, and don’t let me keep you from your passion.
But if you ever plan on moving in 20, 30, 40, 50 years (most good tile should last that long or longer), you will want to keep some principles of resale in mind when improving your home.