Renovating Myths and Tips

Myth: Increasing the size of a home will increase its value.
Truth: If you increase the size and don’t take into account layout, flow, light and neighborhood issues, dollars spent remodeling may not bring the return you expected and may also decrease your property’s value.

Myth: Interior upgrades will improve the value of a rental property.
Truth: Many landlords over renovate rental properties in neighborhoods that can’t support the expected increase in value. Upgrades on a rental property should be to create clean, open and versatile living spaces that are easily maintained. Often, less is more.

Myth: Contractors generally understand which home modifications will maximize property value.
Truth: Many contractors do what you tell them to do and even rely upon their own personal preferences. Some also make the same modifications from home to home because this is easiest and most profitable for them. Many do not know what modifications, redesigns, systems and materials will excite buyers at the moment you want to sell. Always consult a good full-time agent to discover the latest improvements that excite buyers.  Unfortunately, I have seen too many homeowners spend lots of money without adding value.

Tips for Hiring Contractors and Other Tradesman

  • Make sure the person you contact to do the job is a true representative of the company you want to work with and ask for multiple references.
  • Ask for a copy of the company’s license.
  • Ask for proof of insurance and any other required certifications.
    • Connecticut – Home improvement and new home construction contractors must be certified. Anyone working on major projects must be registered.
    • New York – Except for asbestos abatement work, all construction work in New York is regulated at the local level.
  • Make sure a full contract is written before the work starts and includes:
    • Company letterhead, name and address
    • Your Name
    • Date Created
    • Detailed description of work to be performed and expenses associated
    • Start Dates and End Dates
    • Payment Schedule
    • Termination Clause
    • A Clause that protects you from any potential mechanics liens once you have paid the contractor in full
    • Information as to whether a permit will be required and who will be responsible for pulling them.
    • Document all changes as they happen.
  • Make payments to companies in general (not people)
  • Avoid paying with cash and collect receipts for work and all materials purchased and used
  • Withhold final payment until you are satisfied with the project and the building inspection is completed (if required).
  • Don’t advance money for materials.

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