(ANGIE'S LIST) - This time of year, homeowners are eager to spring into action and get started on home improvement projects. The key is tackling projects that will increase your home's value. But there are three home improvement blunders to avoid.
Shortly after moving in to her new home, Heidi Birkey discovered a plumbing problem that cost her more than $500 to fix.
"The plumbing under the sink is really old and it was all metal plumbing so when he took it apart it fell apart in his hands. He snaked it and even changed the vent boot up on the roof and still we couldn't get any clog to come out. I had the plumbers to come out three different times and finally they had to replace the plumbing in kitchen. That was a big expense I wasn't expecting."
There are countless home improvement projects you can invest in, but Angie's List says don't go into project-planning overdrive. You need to be selective because every project won't add value to your home.
Real estate agent Nancy Burk says when you do choose a project, it's important to follow through.
"There are a lot of times we'll meet with a potential seller and they'll say 'oh and we just finished doing our kitchen floor. We've installed a new bathroom floor, or we've put in a new shower enclosure." And my husband and I, who work together, hold on breath because typically the homeowner may start a project with great enthusiasm and fails to finish out the project."
Angie's List says if you want to add value with your home improvement projects, there are 3 common mistakes you should avoid.
Angie Hicks from Angie's List says, "Be sure that you balance your needs and your wants. Maybe you want a new deck, but you need a new furnace and only have money for one. Be sure you invest in those needs first because it will be a better return on your money."
You also want to avoid over-investing in your home.
"Remember kitchen and bathrooms are the best things to invest in because they get the best return on investment, usually around 85 percent. But don't overinvest here. The goal is to keep up with the Jones, but don't be the leader in your neighborhood. If your neighbors all have two bathrooms, don't put three in your house," says Hicks.
Another big mistake homeowners make? Not taking enough time to do your research.
A project installed poorly won't add value to your home.
Hire a reputable contractor.
Burk says, "Painting is a really common thing that it takes a good steady hand to make a good steady line, especially where you are cutting into your ceiling so be very cautious when you say you can do this yourself. You may need a professional."
Angie's List says unless yours is the only house on the block without a pool -- it's not a good idea. In most cases...you won't get back even half of the money you spent when it's time to sell the house... and typically home offices and sunrooms aren't a good idea either. A buyer may want that space for something else -- like a bedroom or playroom. The return on the investment for these projects is about 60 percent or less.