Don’t Do These at Home: 3 Big Remodeling Mistakes

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Remodeling a kitchen, bathroom, or other room to increase a home’s value can be a good idea, but home owners need to be careful when undergoing a remodeling task to ensure they don’t fall for some of the common traps. recently highlighted a few such common mistakes:

1. Being too trendy. The home will look out-of-date a lot faster if you just reach for today’s trends, according to design experts. As such, you might want to bypass such trends as glass tiles, wire-hung track lighting, and vessel sinks, says Curt Schultz, a real estate professional and architect in Pasadena, Calif. Instead, opt for classic choices that compliment the home’s original style, he says.

2. Going overboard in the kitchen. Kitchens can help sell houses but that doesn’t give you a green-light to spend big bucks in giving it a total redo. You still want to be practical, or you likely won’t recoup the cost of all your upgrades when selling. The kitchen usually makes up 5 percent to 15 percent of a home’s value so limit your kitchen remodeling budget to that range, says John Bredemeyer with the Appraisal Institute. And don’t gut the kitchen if it’s already in good shape, he adds.

3. Assuming “green” always will net you a big return. You’ve heard a lot of buzz about going green and increasing the energy efficiency of a home. Certainly, home buyers have said in recent surveys that they want more energy efficiency upgrades, but when selling a home, you won’t always see a payback in the sale if you opt for a bunch of costly “green” updates. For example, swapping out old windows–estimated at about $300 to $1,200 each–may save you $50 to $175 a year on your energy bills, but your installation investment and savings might not necessarily be made up at resale.

So you’ll likely want to keep the potential paypack in perspective when doing any remodeling so you can judge if it’s really worth it–that is, if you’re looking for a return at resale. You might just want fancy windows and countertops.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. All really good suggestions. Just remember sellers when you wnat tot sell, your need to de-trend your home for the next guy. Think of selling your house as a painter. They always start with a white board.

  2. Patti Simkins, Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Columbus/Ft Benning GA

    The topic of remodeling should always be addressed AFTER the basics have been performed, i.e. CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! Again, make sure the walls are neutral and fresh, and replace worn flooring. If you want the most bang for the smallest buck when you are trying to sell, these are imperatives! The fancy stuff is nice to have, nice to look at, but if you don’t have fresh, clean, neutral, and not stained or worn ANYTHING, your home will lose out to the next home that has these characteristics, regardless of the fancy things.

  3. You nailed all three.. I think the main thing people can do is what you said above.. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN… declutter..

    Go rent a storage unit and get rid of some of the crap thats just laying around.

  4. One of the question I get alot from potential clients is. Will this increase the value of our home or will we get our money back? I try and tell then that their home is NOT a mutual fund. If done correctly you should get a large portion of money back. Depending on the project of course.
    A home theater wont recoup as much as new kitchen remodel of course. Kitchen and baths are obviously the place to spend the most dough. Thanks

  5. The last advice about ‘going green’ is an interesting one, as that has been trending more lately in home renovations despite homeowners not knowing the necessity of that type of renovation.

  6. Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely think this amazing site needs much
    more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!

  7. TonyHall

    One more thing to keep in mind during remodeling is the energy efficiency of the products to be installed in home. Whether it is windows or even door installation Toronto everything should be taken in accordance with energy efficiency. Greenhouse windows in the kitchen might also prove beneficial for the home owner.

  8. At least all the people doing something like this DIY will be aware for these remodeling mistakes and that should be avoided as early as before starting the renovation or something.

  9. Come across this site and invested in a steam shower and never looked back again,
    great content here cannot give thanks enough

  10. For a perfect and budgeted remodeling project, we should create an initial checklist in which we can add the important remodeling tasks so that we can plan a remodeling project within our budgeted prices.