1. Good plans equal great results.
Successful remodeling projects require careful planning and a realistic budget. "Many people want to build it cheap and fast," says builder David Lisenby, Certified Graduate Remodelor, of Lisenby Construction. "They want an estimate before they even have a plan." A solid strategy will ensure that the homeowner and the builder are on the same page, saving both parties time and money.
2. Quality counts.
Potential home buyers have more sophisticated tastes than ever. That's why spending a little extra on good design, quality materials, and careful craftsmanship can garner big rewards when it comes time to sell.
3. Insist on coherent design.
A good remodel or addition should complement the original structure. Pay particular attention to roof lines, window sizes and styles and trim details.
4. Meet expectations.
What buyers want varies from area to area and from one price range to the next. Do some comparison shopping to see what your competition will be like should you decide to sell. And talk to a realtor who knows your neighborhood.
5. Consider the neighbors.
The value of nearby houses affects the value of your home. Remodeling or adding on to a house that's smaller than surrounding homes will yield a greater value than adding on to a house that's already one of the largest on the street. A general rule of thumb: Don't overbuild for the neighborhood.
6. Get permission.
Before starting any type of remodel, make sure the design conforms to all local building restrictions. Some neighborhoods also have their own stipulations and design review processes. Double-check that necessary building permits have been acquired before construction begins.
7. Build up to code.
Plumbing, electrical, and building codes help ensure safety. Licensed contractors should perform work that meets all codes.
8. Exercise patience.
If you can, wait for the right time to sell. “In a strong market, the value will catch up with the cost,” Lisenby says.
9. Know the market.
Some types of remodeling projects can return more than the average and also speed up resale.
10. Experience matters.
Substandard work on your remodel is a buyer turnoff. "You don't want someone learning on your project," Lisenby says. "This is our business, year in and year out."