Home improvements are a great investment. Whether you plan to sell your home now or spend the next 10 years living in it, you can enjoy, on average, an 80% return on any home repairs or upgrades. Since March 2007, there has been a 20% decline in home values. Prospective home sellers might ask: should I do major home improvements? The answer is: it depends. Before deciding, consider: when do I need to sell my home; what home repairs are needed; and how do I find a contractor?
What home repairs must I do first? A failed home inspection means that you must find a contractor and make certain home repairs immediately. Follow-up with minor home improvements such as increasing curb appeal, painting walls, and ensuring that doors open and close freely. Next, determine if you can sell your home near your asking price and in “as-is” condition. If not, decide if you have at least 6 months to complete an optional, major home improvement project. A local, licensed real estate broker can review your home and provide information on your local housing market.
Major upgrades might be worth the risk. The return on investment of major home repairs can be rewarding. Kitchen and bathroom renovations, for example, can generate a 2:1 payback on investment. Plus, renovated homes are more attractive to potential buyers. The right home improvements can greatly reduce the time your home spends on the market. Home values are still, however, in decline. Spending money to remodel a $300,000 home that loses 5% of its value during the renovation project, for example, might be counterproductive.
How do you find the right home improvement professional? You can find a contractor by first asking for recommendations from people
you know and trust – your family, friends, or neighbors. They can rate contractors they have used in the past, which minimizes your potential for contractor complaints. Another way to find a home improvement professional is to search for sources that rate contractors and provide homeowner feedback. Some homeowners use free “service companies” to find a contractor – with mixed results. These companies sell your contact info and home improvement details to “pre-screened” contractors. This does not, however, always eliminate contractor complaints. In a tightening economy, some companies cut corners by loosening their pre-screening standards. One such company asks homeowners to rate contractors, publishes the feedback (including contractor complaints), but continues to sell your information to questionable contractors.
Other homeowners use “information brokers”, who ask their “members” to rate contractors. They then sell the feedback to homeowners. Obviously, purchasing anonymous information from restricted websites has drawbacks. Look instead for openly posted contractor complaints and feedback, like those found in a home contractor directory. Since the information is accessible to everyone, it allows more follow-up comments and greater validation. This result provides the best snapshot of a home improvement professional.
You may ask: what is a Home Contractor Directory? More and more homeowners are using a home contractor directory to find a contractor. This specialized directory gives you the ability to find a contractor that is right for your home repair project. You can peruse advertisements, rate contractors, check and feedback, read related news, articles and gain advice – all free of charge.