While renovation mistakes do happen, they can be costly both in cash and in emotional distress. But with a little due diligence, you can save yourself a lot of time, stress and money. I’ve made a list of the top renovation mistakes that homeowners make, as well as some advice on what you can do to try and avoid them.
1. Hiring the wrong contractor
Choosing the right contractor is easily first and foremost. It can be tempting to go with the first one you find to just get it over with (because he was such a nice guy!). But the reality is, if you choose the wrong contractor, you’ll be setting yourself up for HUGE headaches in the long run.
Instead, do your due diligence and thoroughly vet multiple contractors before ultimately deciding which one to hire. You should check references, read online reviews, and verify that each contractor is licensed and insured.
Make sure the contractor that you choose is easy to contact, that he or she answers your questions in a way that leaves you feeling comfortable and willing to sign a contract.
Sounds like a lot of work? Don’t feel like you know quite enough to vet a good contractor? Not sure what questions should you be asking?
Perhaps you should call Renovation Advocate. They do all the project rough estimates and vetting for you to ensure your project is done right!
2. Choosing aesthetics over function
Everyone wants a kitchen or bathroom that looks like it belongs in a showroom, but when you’re remodeling, there is such a thing as getting too into aesthetics. If you make your remodel look magnificent, but forget to take function into account, odds are good that you’ll be itching to remodel again sooner rather than later.
Your better option is to put function first, even if it means sacrificing a few aesthetic details. Before you start remodeling, take some time to think about how you currently use the space. Ask yourself: What do you like about the way the space currently functions? What do you wish was different about it? Then, make sure those changes take precedence in your design.
3. Skipping the permit
There’s no denying that getting permits can be a pain. For one, they add another cost to your likely already-stretched budget. For another, inspections by local authorities can slow down the work or even bring it to a halt altogether. But, having the right permits in place is a crucial factor when you eventually go to sell your home down the road. Not having them could cause your eventual sale to fall through. Worse, if the new buyer were to get hurt because of workmanship that did not have a permit, you could be sued.
If you’ve hired the right kind of contractor, he or she will most likely take care of the permitting for you, but that doesn’t mean that you can just brush this task aside. It’s up to you, as the homeowner, to verify that all of the correct permits are in place and that the work is being done to code.
4. Not planning for the unexpected
If there’s one thing to know about remodeling projects it’s that nothing ever goes according to plan, at least not completely. Whether it’s an ordering mistake or an unexpected roof leak, unforeseen problems happen during the course of construction all of the time. You need to be prepared to handle them because that’s the only way that your project can continue to move forward.
The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for the unknown is to leave a buffer in your budget for these issues. Experts recommend budgeting 10% – 15% more than you actually need for the project for these incidentals. That way, if something happens, you have a cushion to fall back on and, if nothing does, you get to finish the renovation without feeling cash-poor.
5. Continually changing your mind
Sometimes you can’t help it if inspiration strikes while your renovation is underway, but unfortunately giving in to too many of those whims can cost you a lot of time and money, especially if the contractor was already in the middle of working on the feature that you’d like to change.
Ideally, you’ll take some time to sit with your ideas for the project before you start putting the wheels in motion. That way, if you discover that changes need to be made, plans can be made around them before construction starts. Your best bet for keeping your project on schedule and under budget is to make a plan for the work and stick to it.
Enjoy the results!
That’s all there is to it! Avoid these top 5 home renovation mistakes and you will be well on your way to enjoying your newly renovated home.
Jim Edwards is the Home Advocate. His clients love how he helps them make better decisions for their home renovation projects. He has seen it all, fixed it all and helps homeowners avoid the costly errors many homeowners make.