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ANDY LINDUS: Home upkeep myths

Andy Lindus

Every Saturday morning I have a live radio show on WCCO AM 830 where I answer home improvement questions from people in the Twin Cities. There’s never a shortage of calls; oftentimes people end up following up with me after the show if they weren’t able to get on the air. One thing we’ve learned from this is that homeowners really do want to be educated when it comes to home upkeep. Here are some prevalent misconceptions that I’d like to clear up.

Go with the lowest bid

Rarely is the lowest bid your best option. Lower quality materials have a much shorter shelf life and may lack the warranty that its competitor of superior quality has. Contractors can also save big bucks by not carrying adequate insurance, which means if there’s an accident on the property during construction, you’re the one liable.

Any upgrade will add value to the home

In order to add value, the enhancement has to be something that another homebuyer will see as an asset. Things like outdoor tennis or basketball courts can be appealing to the right buyer but may not cause your home to sell at a higher price tag because they aren’t an improvement everyone wants. Items that add value include high quality, maintenance free features such as roofing, siding, windows and gutters.

Bath fans are optional

Oftentimes, bath fans are not required by building codes, especially if there’s already a window in the bathroom. (Friendly reminder: building codes are to enforce the bare minimum.)   The intent of a bath fan is to prevent moisture problems, such as mold. While windows can be a beneficial tool for this as well, I think I can safely say that there are easily six months in the Midwest that a home’s windows are never open.

You don’t need a permit for a DIY remodel

The need for a permit depends on the municipality that you live in, not on who is performing the work. Failure to get a permit on work that needs to be performed can result in fines and even having to remove the improvement and start over.

You need to have a complete vision prior to hiring a contractor

False! While it’s good to be in touch with personal preferences and tastes, it’s the responsibility of the contractor to put together a realistic plan that encompasses your needs.  This can be done after meeting with you to learn more about the project. Working with a contractor from the beginning is a big time and money saver; they have access to pricing the general public does not and also aren’t starting from ground zero because they’ve overseen many similar projects.

Lindus owns Lindus Construction, which is a remodeling company in Baldwin, Wis. Read his home improvement AreaVoices blog at