Want to Avoid Home Improvement Blunders? Follow These 3 Tips (Including Using VR

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Want to Avoid Home Improvement Blunders? Follow These 3 Tips (Including Using VR)

If you want proof of how carefully you need to weigh the alternatives before making upgrades to your home, you have only to look at the Florida couple who last year painted their house as an homage to the artist Vincent Van Gogh’s famous canvas, “The Starry Night.” It wasn’t just that it was an odd choice for an exterior – it was that the city of Mount Dora took them to court over it.

“Graffiti,” the city calls it. “First Amendment!” counters homeowner Lubek Jastrzebski, an immigrant from Communist-era Poland, who argues that the city code didn’t address house colors or aesthetics.

Yes, that’s an extreme example of unintended consequences. Though the homeowners would wind up off the hook legally, anyone now contemplating shelling out significant money on home improvements should read on for tips on avoiding costly missteps.

1. Don’t paint your house brown either. Since most people have it in the back of their minds that they’ll eventually want to attract buyers, Zillow.com just concluded that medium brown and taupe were the worst exterior color choices in terms of resale value.

Both depressed the sale price by $1,970 compared to homes painted white. “Greige,” on the other hand – a combination of gray and beige – was the big winner, fetching $3,496 more than its drab brown counterparts.

2. Tech is your friend. It was two years ago that a noted design guru had this to say to the New York Times about online virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D rendering tools: “It’s definitely the wave of the future, because it allows the general population to make design decisions without feeling hesitant or insecure,” says Khoi Vo, a professor and the chair of the department of interior design at Savannah College of Art and Design.

With programs like Room Sketcher, you can play architect by creating your own floor plan, furnishing the space, and then visualizing your work in 3D.

But say what you’re interested in is boosting your home’s all-important curb appeal with a roof upgrade. The Virtual Home Remodeler from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, lets you experiment with different looks by either downloading a photo of your own home or choosing from among the many styles pictured on the website.

“It’s an easy way to see what would look best with your home,” says Paul Dellanno, assistant marketing manager at GAF. “Because what may work for a ranch-style house may not work for a Tudor.”

Once you’ve picked a house style, the process continues. Do you prefer the Antique Slate color shingles from the company’s Camelot Shingle line that you clicked on, for example, or the Golden Prairie color ones from the Glenwood Shingle line?

3. Be wary of fads. “It looked like Darth Vader has moved in,” is how a writer for Realty.com describes the latest trend of painting houses black in her Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood.

Word to the wise: The classics are classic for a reason.

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