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Gingersnap
07-26-2010, 03:48 PM
8 most overrated home projects

If you're considering remodeling your home, it may be best to skip these upgrades.
By Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate

In these uncertain times, remodels are more about wringing day-to-day enjoyment out of your house than simply boosting its resale value. But not every project delivers on its promise of luxury and enjoyment.

Some delightful-sounding home improvements can be problematic or overly expensive or simply wind up collecting dust while you're still paying the tab. And some are destined to become white elephants, in the same kitschy category as that 1970s wet bar, sauna or intercom system.

MSN Real Estate consulted with contractors, designers and other home-improvement gurus as well as homeowners themselves to come up with a somewhat subjective "honey-do" list that's better left undone.

1. Whirlpool bath
This upgrade, which had become synonymous with luxury in years past, is now on the most endangered list, contractors say.

"We're taking out these bathtubs and making (walk-in) showers out of them," says Fred Spaulding of Quality Home Improvements in Kingwood, Texas.

Indeed, while they became a standard feature in many upscale homes, a hefty percentage of people who have these big whirlpool tubs report never having the time or inclination to soak in them, in part because of the noise and amount of water required to fill them and keep them warm.

"In almost four years, I have never used it," says "sisb" on a home and garden forum.

2. Room additions
These days, the name of the home-improvement game is conversion, or using existing space in a new way, says Don Van Cura, a Chicago-area remodeling contractor who sits on the board of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

"The biggest thing I've seen a change in is less room additions," Van Cura says. "Before, it had to be bigger and more, more, more. Now we are seeing more people taking advantage of attic or bedroom space."

Dining rooms are becoming home offices. Basements are becoming family rooms, and there are a lot more unpermitted (and some legitimate) attic-to-bedroom conversions, contractors say.

Forking over an average of $82,756 to build a new family room from the ground up including foundation, framing, drywall and electric is more expensive, architects and designers say, than converting your basement. And the addition recoups only 65% of its value at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report. That basement remodel, on the other hand, costs just $62,067 on average and recoups 75% of its value.

3. 'Versailles' kitchens
In contrast with Europe, Americans with their comparatively shorter history just love anything that looks old and ornate.

If you look at European design books or websites, you'll find page after page of simple, streamlined modern looks. Here, our McMansions boast elaborate Tuscan villa-style kitchens with ornate cabinetry, hardware and tile.

Call it the Bellagio effect.

"People will go into hock finding themselves surrounded by $150,000 of polished granite and fancy French or English cabinetry," says TV home-improvement veteran Bob Vila, who coaches people through remodeling projects on BobVila.com.

They'll wind up saying, 'I'm still paying on that and what the hell pleasure am I getting out of it?' Going overboard with any aspect of home remodeling can be a mistake."

Indeed, upscale kitchen remodels carried an average price tag of $111,794 last year, according to Remodeling Magazine, but recouped just $70,641, or 63%, of their value at resale, a decline from the 2008-2009 survey.

Interesting.

MSN (http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=24921642&GT1=35000)

Articulate_Ape
07-26-2010, 04:31 PM
One of the best home improvement projects I have ever done was installing a bidet in our master bathroom. I would be happy to to describe in meticulous detail the benefits of this marvelous fixture, if you are interested. :)

Nubs
07-26-2010, 05:20 PM
Kind of disagree with the home theatre.

Anyhow, what is best for upgrading countertops??

Currently have laminate, kind of tacky nut functional. Wife went to Lowe's and they have a granite look a like molded formica type thing, still about $1600. My thought is it is not granite, not formica, it's gramica.

If/when we sell house, what the hell are you supposed to say?? The seller will be geeked, IT"S GRANITE. No it just looks like granite. Oh????

I asked my wife, "Why would I want to spend good money on something that is fake??. Tits are one thing but countertops??"

So what is the thing in countertops these days?

Hawkgirl
07-26-2010, 05:41 PM
Definetly granite...don't waste your money on anything like Silestone or whatever other synthetic crap out there. Granite willl appeal to most buyers.

Gingersnap
07-26-2010, 05:52 PM
So what is the thing in countertops these days?

Finished concrete, some slates, and recycled/glass products. If you go with granite, remember that you probably also have to have your cabinets braced to take the weight and there's a learning curve when it comes to avoiding chips on your china and stemware.

I'm replacing my countertops in a couple of years but not with granite. ;)

noonwitch
07-27-2010, 08:49 AM
My mom just redid her kitchen counters with a light-colored granite. It looks really good, and makes the room a lot brighter than the old, dark stuff.


Her boyfriend ripped up her carpet and put down hardwood floors in the living room/dining area. They put oak down, and it also looks good. She has poorly trained rat dogs, and her formerly white carpet reeked of dog pee. She cages her dogs now, when she's not home, so hopefully the little buggers won't ruin this floor.


I have no room to judge, as I have formerly off-white carpet and a dog and a cat. I will need to get it replaced eventually, but I have more important home improvement priorities. Like a new roof.

marv
07-27-2010, 11:35 AM
I bought my first home in '64, and my last one (#10) in '06. I've never sold for less than I bought! I've either broke even or sold at a profit. And I do almost all my own maintenance.

I had the good fortune to be able to help my Dad do a room addition when I was a teen. I learned rough and finish carpentry, painting, wallpapering, plumbing, wiring, masonry, etc. on the job. And Dad was a Federal meat inspector for the USDA - he was not a construction worker. He learned the necessary skills from his Dad who retired from the Department of the Interior.

The more you learn to do things for yourself, the more you'll get things done the way you want them done.

My 2........

PoliCon
07-27-2010, 11:52 AM
Kind of disagree with the home theatre.

Anyhow, what is best for upgrading countertops??

Currently have laminate, kind of tacky nut functional. Wife went to Lowe's and they have a granite look a like molded formica type thing, still about $1600. My thought is it is not granite, not formica, it's gramica.

If/when we sell house, what the hell are you supposed to say?? The seller will be geeked, IT"S GRANITE. No it just looks like granite. Oh????

I asked my wife, "Why would I want to spend good money on something that is fake??. Tits are one thing but countertops??"

So what is the thing in countertops these days?

everyone is ga-ga over granite - I prefer Soapstone or stainless steel myself. But then I'm of the opinion that a kitchen should be functional and utilitarian and above all - EASY TO CLEAN and LOW MAINTENANCE!!

SaintLouieWoman
07-27-2010, 03:04 PM
Our kitchen cabinets have that European look, very sleek and functional. I didn't want that Tuscany look, but then I don't like anything too fussy. The first thing I did in the house was remove the tie-backs on the sheers in the bedroom and let them hang straight down. They looked much better, particularly after I washed them in the gentle cycle.

The other big improvement was removing the fussy lace curtain panels and valances. The living room and dining room look so much better now.

Marv, I had never lost on a house before, either. I didn't have as many as you, 6 before this one, but did lose on the last one. I sold it for $15k under what I paid for it the end of 2005 (the height of the housing bubble). I also lost the entire almost $20k that I foolishly put into it.

Now I'm being much more careful, but admit paying to have the place painted. I can't stand the highly saturated, extremely deep yellow paint through most of the house and the dark turquoise/bluish green in the bedroom. They're terrible standing alone and 2x as bad next to each other.

SaintLouieWoman
07-27-2010, 03:06 PM
everyone is ga-ga over granite - I prefer Soapstone or stainless steel myself. But then I'm of the opinion that a kitchen should be functional and utilitarian and above all - EASY TO CLEAN and LOW MAINTENANCE!!

The granite we have now is pretty low mantenance and easy to clean. It's a decent grade of granite. The granite that we installed on the house in St Louis was a devil to take care of, maybe because it was so dark, almost a black, maybe because it was too low of a price (sort of government low bid doesn't always work). :D

I don't particularly like stainless steel. The sinks scratch too easily and the refrigerator and dishwasher are always smudged from 3 greyhound noses.

hampshirebrit
07-27-2010, 03:12 PM
Definitely granite ... like Noonie says, light coloured is good. Dark granites are getting to be a bit cliched in the European markets now, as they've been done to death for a while.

I redid the kitchen end of last year in a grey/pink type colour granite, hard to describe but there are some pics on CU I posted at the time. No regrets at all, I love it. Got the granite for a good price, which helped.