Top Remodeling Mistakes

I bet you are anticipating another remodeling article advising you not to overspend for your neighborhood and to focus your remodeling energy and dollars on kitchens and baths… While all valid points, I feel like these remodeling topics have been beat to death over the last few years. I bet by now a 5 year old knows that kitchen and baths is where you should spend your money… I decided to think outside of the box on this one and write about costly remodeling mistakes few people think about, yet many unfortunately make. Here are my top three.

Installing a leased solar system.

Solar panels are in and therefor installing them will make your house more desirable to future buyers, right? Not so fast. If you purchase a solar system, your home’s value increases as soon as you install it. But most homeowners choose to lease a solar system instead, which can create several problems when trying to sell your home down the road. Typical solar leases run between 15 and 25 years, and while some are transferable, how many potential buyers would want to assume a solar lease in addition to already taking on a hefty mortgage debt? The reality is many homebuyers simply may not qualify to take over the lease even if it is transferable. All of which could leave you with two costly options when trying to sell: you’ll have to pay a penalty to break your lease agreement, or pay the remainder of your lease prior to selling your home.

Not pulling a permit when remodeling.
While building codes and permit requirements vary slightly from county to county in the Denver metro area, the general rule of thumb is that you need a permit for any remodeling involving electrical, plumbing, mechanical or structural work. Let’s say you’ve added a small unpermitted powder room next to your family room, so what’s the big deal when it comes to selling your home, you might ask. The answers might surprise you. First off, it’ll be almost impossible to find an appraiser who will include an unpermitted addition in the total square footage, which means the home will appraise for less than if you count that powder room in the total number of home’s bathrooms. Yet there is a bigger issue in my opinion—homeowner’s insurance ramifications. Let’s say that powder room addition was done incorrectly (and you won’t know since you didn’t pull that permit and have it inspected) and something happens, say a short in the electrical causes a fire. Your homeowner’s insurance most likely won’t cover the damage caused by that fire because the bathroom addition was finished without a permit. Furthermore you’ll be hard pressed to find a buyer who will be willing to buy your home “as-is” and inherit the responsibility for unpermitted remodeling and possible insurance liability.

Going too trendy when remodeling.
Keep this in mind: the trendier your project is today, the more out-of-date it will seem in a few years. Need an example? Remember the brass craze of the 80’s? You simply had to have brass everywhere to be cool back then. Now think of how we feel about that brass today. If you are cringing, you’re not alone. That trend came and went as fast as some of the other unfortunate 80’s and 90’s choices like whitewashed cabinets, tack lighting and popcorn ceilings. So think twice before installing those cool oil-rubbed-bronze fixtures, concrete counters and vessel sinks. Instead try sticking to the timeless classic styles and materials that will compliment you’re homes architectural style and will withstand the test of time.

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