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10 Home Improvement Tips

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Money Pit, you know the worst-case scenario for a home renovation. Fixing one problem uncovers another, and then another, until that innocent first thought you had–what if we just had a little more space/another window/an extra bathroom here?–has turned the entire house into a construction site.

By the time the sawdust clears, you’re not only exasperated, but also thousands of dollars out of pocket. You’re in good company, however. Many, if not most, people who start a home renovation feel they’ve gotten in over their head at some point–especially if they haven’t been honest with themselves and their contractors about the cost and scope of the project from the start. And, as any builder or real estate agent will tell you, it’s a rare individual who can be that clear-eyed.

“It’s very easy to fall into the addiction,” says George Ballantyne, head of the Sotheby’s International Realty office in Boston. “You fall in love with the project, don’t want to consider any kind of compromise. Only at the end do you realize what you’ve done.”

What you’ve done, to be precise, is overspend your budget and inflate your expectations about the value added to your home. According to a 2000 survey taken by the National Association of Home Builders, 41% of respondents named a desire to increase the value of their home as a major reason to undertake a remodeling project, yet not all improvements will pay you back when it comes to selling the property. And not all changes are really improvements, so before you build that deck or put in that black marble bathroom, read on for our list of ten mistakes to avoid in home renovations.

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