Common Renovation Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid
One of the biggest trends taking the nation by storm has been the recent infatuation with home renovation and restoration. Whether it’s the popularity of shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper and Property Brothers or DIY Network’s Rehab Addict and First Time Flippers, almost every neighborhood has at least one house undergoing structural or cosmetic updates. While some houses are renovated to sell others are simply being updated to make houses feel like homes again.
The perks that come with a newly remodeled space can be endless, but unfortunately, so can the let downs if not done properly. Before embarking on a new project, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from making the same mistakes as renovators before you.
1. Do not think you can do it all
Yes, there are some projects like scraping off wallpaper and removing cabinets that might be accomplished after watching a YouTube video or reading a “How To” post online, but some parts of your renovation project will require professionals. It might seem like a great idea to save money on the front end by taking down the wall blocking your view from the kitchen to the living area before hiring a construction crew. However, the extra money that you might end up spending on the back end to hire multiple specialists and engineers after accidentally busting a pipe, exposing old electrical wires, or damaging a structural element could double or triple the original cost of the trained construction crew you sought out to avoid.
2. Ask questions, questions, and more questions
This applies to all aspects of your renovation project. Read your contract all the way through, and ask questions about anything that seems odd or that you do not understand. Even if it is not your area of expertise, you are paying for the service and deserve to know what you are getting. When you meet with your contractor, ask about the timeline, extensiveness of the job, how often you will be getting updates on the progress or will be able to walk the property, and more. Likewise, when you are selecting materials to order, ask the clerk in the store you are shopping in about the durability of the material, potential alternatives, and the shipping and return policy.
3. Do some research and establish a budget
Avoid the pay-as-you-go method. Do your due diligence and find a few contractors who can give you bids on how much they believe the work you want to be done will cost. Then, take some time to figure out a realistic amount you can spend before beginning your project. This includes a contingency fund where the amount you set aside is equal to 10-20% of your total renovation budget. Once you have this established, shop around and begin to price materials and find areas where you could potentially save. Maybe you can forgo hardwoods throughout for a less expensive laminate that will create the same look.
4. Be flexible
Even the best planners and top professionals are not immune to making a mistake or running into an unforeseen issue. Whether it be black mold found after removing your tub or getting your countertops back and realizing they were measured a half an inch too wide, there is always potential for your project’s timeline to get a little off track. Weather is another unpredictable and often overlooked aspect of the renovation project. A few days’ worth of rain can sometimes set a project back two or three weeks depending on the scope of the work being done.
For additional renovation mistakes you can aim to avoid, check out the top mistakes Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew have faced as well as seven specific things to look for in a renovation contract.