5 Mistakes Every Homeowner Makes
Mistake #1: Painting Before Prepping
Paint offers one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform a space. It seems so easy, right? Pick a color, open the can, dunk in a brush and you’re good to go. This is why homeowners often skip the prep work.
So, before you pick up even one daylily, write down the sun and shade patterns in your yard, measure available planting spaces and make a list of the flowers you like. At the garden store, look at the nursery labels, which detail how much light and water the plant needs (this will tell you where the plant can go in your garden), as well as how big it will grow (to help you figure out how many will fit in the space you have).
Your attic should have between 19 and 22 inches of blown-in or batt insulation. If you're nervous about working with yards and yards of the itchy pink rolls, look for poly-encapsulated products. These are encased in a layer of plastic to reduce exposure to fiberglass particles. Also, the weave of the fiberglass is longer and more cotton-like, leaving fewer particles to escape into the air to become a respiratory irritant.
Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock
Set yourself up for a smoother, more satisfying experience by coming up with your own specs: a list of your ideas and product choices for each. If you give this sheet to each of the contractors you interview, you’ll then be able to do an apples-to-apples bid comparison. By investing some thought and preparation at the beginning, you’ll get the best prices on home improvements in the end.
Several years ago I was asked to inspect a home built by a Rutgers University professor. He loved the place, had clearly designed it with care and couldn’t figure out why it was sitting on the market. The answer was crystal clear: He’d built the home in as a geodesic dome. As a gifted academic, he likely found the bulbous layout to be inspiring; the average homebuyer, on the other hand, found it hard to imagine where the couch would go.
We’ve learned a lot from relocation companies: Their experts are brought in to sell homes quickly, and the very first thing they do is paint everything eggshell white and put down neutral carpets. This isn’t to say you should live in a house of taupe, but you should consider your home improvement decisions—especially large ones that can’t easily be undone—with care. Choose things that will make you happy while you’re living in the house and that will appeal to future buyers who may not have your fantastic taste.
More Home Improvement Advice
Nate Berkus, Ty Pennington and more share their know-how
11 ways to refresh your home this weekend
Reasons to incorporate DIY into your life