Renovating. The word alone conjures images of messy, dust-filled rooms. Think of kitchen renovations where the stove, fridge and dishwasher have been pulled out and placed in the middle of the TV room—optimal for entertaining guests, right? Even worse, bathroom renovations where your entire family of five is forced to share ONE bathroom while the work is being done.
Yes, renovating can definitely induce high-levels of stress. Renovating can be especially stressful when we encounter problems, and let’s face it, how often do you hear of a renovation going smoothly with no unexpected surprises—hardly ever.
The good news? We can help you avoid some of the biggest, most costly renovating mistakes. Whether you do it yourself, or you hire a professional, there are common mistakes that are encountered time and time again.
Let’s look at some of the top mistakes people make when renovating and how to avoid them:
Is it the Right Renovation for You?
Why do you want to renovate? Take a good, hard look at the project that you have in mind and make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons.
Ask yourself if the time, effort and expense will be worthwhile. Will this renovation be an investment into your home, ensuring you get the money back when you sell? If this is not a renovation that will make your home more profitable, or if it is one that will potentially detract buyers, then maybe you need to reconsider—unless this is your forever home.
There are a lot of renovations that add value to your home, and then there are some that seem like a good idea at the time but will lead people to ask, What were they thinking? Do your homework to stay in the aforementioned group of renovators.
Planning a Budget and Sticking to it
This one is tough. While it’s easy to know the dollar amount you want to spend, it is much harder to stay within that dollar amount.
Sit down and thoroughly plan your budget. Itemize every little expense that you can think of, and then review it with the contractor that you plan to hire, making sure there are no other expenses he/she can think of. This renovation budget calculator is a great starting point.
Make sure you can afford the financial commitment of renovating before grabbing that sledgehammer. If there are things you cannot afford, then simply pick and choose wisely—opting for the projects that will make your home most profitable and you the happiest.
Hire the Right Professional
This is the stuff of nightmares. Hiring the wrong professional can literally make you broke, and leave you living with a half-finished or poorly done project.
Hiring the right professional is above all the very most important aspect of any remodel. You will want to hire someone who is reputable, honest, an expert, and has plenty of references. Be sure your builder/contractor knows your expectations and budget constraints, and is able to work within them.
Take plenty of time with this decision, and interview numerous builders/contractors. Make sure they are licensed and accredited, as well. Start by taking a look through this the list of Top 400 Builders of 2014.
Make Renovations Match the Rest of the House
There is nothing worse than the ruination of a Victorian beauty by adding the wrong windows, doors, trims, etc…And attempting to turn a contemporary home into a countrified, rustic cabin can also result in a nightmarish atrocity.
If your overhaul doesn’t match the current home, then maybe it is best to sell the current home and find one that better matches your needs/desires. This is not to say that you cannot overhaul the theme of your home, but be sure to do it in a manner that flows; where the design is balanced throughout the entire home.
Make it Safe
Do you have a first aid kit on hand? Unfortunately, accidents are common occurrences on renovation sites. They are messy, tool-filled construction sites with sharp objects scattered about— of course something is bound to happen, so be sure you are prepared for it.
The first step is to be sure your contractor is insured and bonded. Also, don’t be shy when interviewing contractors—ask them about their safety records; ask them what steps they take to avoid on-site accidents.
If you are planning to go it alone and do your own renovations, then be sure you are not messing with load-bearing walls or electrical hazards. Unless you are an exceptionally skilled do-it-yourselfer, we would not suggest you remodel anything that requires electricity, gas, or that alters the homes main frame. One last thing—be sure to get a permit before undergoing any project. You know the motto—Better safe than sorry.
Renovations are messy, dangerous and expensive propositions. As you can see there are a lot of obstacles that can get in the way of your dream remodel.
Do your homework, hire the right contractor, organize a realistic budget and stick to it, and most importantly, renovate in a manner that makes you happy and makes your homes value increase.
Have you undergone a nightmare remodel? If so, what did you learn from your mistakes?