Worst Home Improvements

What is the number one worst updating or remodeling mistake that a property owner can make? It is doing the work without a permit, if one is required.
Unfortunately some property owners think that they will “get away with it”. Then, when they try to sell their property, they will learn the hard way that this is likely not the way it will work. This educational opportunity can be expensive.
Unpermitted work is often discovered in many ways. When you list your home with a Realtor®, the seasoned ones will check with the building department. From past experience, they know it is better to take care of any issues that might prevent a sale later, or cause their client financial losses.
Some sellers will try to avoid the discovery of illegal work by selling the home themselves without a Realtor®. This seldom works, because even if no Realtor® is involved, there will normally be a home inspector, lender appraiser, and a closing agent involved. All of these people will be on the lookout for unpermitted work.
Converted garage-
The next worst idea is converting a garage into living space. Ever pull into someone’s driveway and find yourself staring at a blank wall? Looks sort of silly.
Garages serve a purpose, particularly in Florida. Due to a lack of basements and attics, if nothing else, garages provide a place for storage. Most people also like garages to put vehicles in.
For some reason, property owners think that converting their garage into “living space” will increase the value by adding square footage. Quite often, it reduces the value of the property and makes it more difficult to sell.
If you really want to increase the living space of your home, by converting the garage, then plan on also building a garage. I have seen some nice one car conversions, where the owner also builds a 2 car garage in front of the converted one.
Back porch “Bonus Room”-
Have you ever sat in a car, with no air conditioning and the windows rolled up? Welcome to the enclosed back porch “improvement”.
That is what it often is like when someone has converted their back porch into living space. They replace the screened or open areas, and put up walls and windows. They might even carpet or tile the concrete floor.
Worse yet, they will remove the sliding glass doors that separate the former porch, from the main living area. Since there are no cooling vents going into this “improvement”, the net result is a greenhouse effect throughout the whole house.
Over Remodeling-
Many remodeling projects, like updating bathrooms and kitchens, will return about 56-cents on every dollar spent. In other words, spending $50,000 on improvements, might get you $28,000 more for your home if you put it on the market. There are exceptions. An upscale entry door and garage door may return more than you spent.
Quality improvements are best, but don’t overdo it. Improvements and materials should be appropriate for the property and neighborhood. Solid gold bath and kitchen fixtures won’t turn a 900 sq. ft. home, built in 1960, into a Palm Beach mansion.