To prevent our renovation from becoming a ‘never again’ experience, here’s what we need to know about common mistakes before we get started.
Some say that a home remodeling project is like a relationship – it’s the most fun in its earlier stages. We start with our brain filled with all sorts of grandiose design ideas and then reality comes. The word ‘budget’ rears its ugly head. Delays, problems with contractors, an enormous mess plague homeowners looking to remodel. We shouldn’t make it any harder than it has to be by making some stress-inducing mistakes. By understanding common pitfalls and how to avoid them, we can increase the chance that our home renovation will meet or maybe even exceed our expectations. One important suggestion: we may learn from our own mistakes, but it’s much better to learn from the mistakes of others.
1. Don’t start if you can’t decide what you want
Before we begin our remodeling project, whether major or minor, we need a good plan. The first and the most important step is to determine our ultimate goal. Having a more precise idea of how we want our finished project to look and feel will help us a lot make crucial decisions about factors such as budget, materials and design much easier. But there is no need to panic even if we only have a rough idea of what we want. We can always ask for advice remodeling and home improvement professionals. They can even prepare us blueprints of the intended project or 3D visualization.
Once we know what we want to achieve, we should consider the most logical way to get there – what has to be done first, second, third, and so on until the job is done.
2. Don’t make too many changes
If you have decided what you want to do and made a concise plan, try to stick to it! Last-minute decisions and too many changes can slow everything down and muddle the process. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change little things here and there; just try not to change your mind so fast that the jobs have to keep getting redone all the time. You should be aware that even with minor changes there are always added costs. Scheduling can be affected too. What’s more, every hired person linked with remodeling has to be informed about the changes, which is again a pretty hectic thing to do. We want to clearly highlight the second time that making changes is OK, but be prepared for possible disruption and job delay.
3. Don’t assume you can do everything yourself
When we are having surgery, we normally don’t do it ourselves. We should apply this rule also to remodeling. Remodeling is very stressful and difficult project, so if we doubt anything along the way, we should consider hiring a professional to assist in the process.
In general, the following tasks should be left to the pros:
- structural changes;
- electrical work;
- patching or replacing a roof;
- window replacement.
Attempting a project that we don’t understand, that is dangerous or we don’t have the proper tools for can result in a quite expensive disaster.
4. Don’t hire the first professional, hire the right one
Ok, the wise decision is made – we are hiring a professional. But it’s the beginning of the way because finding the RIGHT professional is not so easy. Choosing the wrong person can literally make us broke, and leave us living with a poorly done or half-finished project. Hiring a good professional is probably the most important aspect of any remodeling. We should choose someone who is an expert, reputable, honest, and has plenty of references. Our builder/contractor has to know our expectations and budget constraints, and should be able to work within them. We don’t have to hurry; we can take plenty of time with this decision and interview many builders/contractors to compare them. It’s good to make sure if they are accredited and licensed, as well.
5. Don’t forget about contract
If we are ready to select remodeling professional or contractor we need to think about a contract and what details should be included in it. The contract is a must-have document that lays out exactly what is expected of both parties.
Every contract should include sections that describe the details of the following:
- project description;
- permits, licenses, and inspections;
- project start and final completion dates;
- payment details: amounts and due dates;
- insurance and property damage liability;
- warranties or guarantees.
Small advice: the contract should not have a requirement for a large down payment or payment-in-full until the project is complete and has been inspected.
6. Don’t neglect safety issues
Unfortunately, accidents are quite common occurrences during remodeling projects. Constructions sites are messy, tool-filled places with many sharp objects- everything can happen, so we have to be prepared for it. It’s true that it’s impossible to predict some of the freak accidents that can happen, but safety should be our primary concern. We all know the motto – Better safe than sorry. Take these few steps to ensure safety at all times:
- check if your contractor is insured and bonded;
- check if your insurance covers any injuries sustained by your family or friends that come to help;
- read the instructions – be sure you understand all the tools and materials before you go to work;
- unless you are an exceptionally skilled person, we would not suggest you remodel anything that requires gas, electricity, or that alters the homes main frame;
- wear protective clothes, footwear, and glasses;
- have first aid on hand;
- keep a cell phone nearby, so in a case of accident or some injury you could call for help quickly.
7. Don’t assume that your budget won’t go over your estimation
Planning the budget and sticking to it can be really tough. While it’s easy to know how much money we want to spend, it is much harder to stay within this amount. And nobody wants to stay with a half-finished kitchen for the foreseeable future. We have to sit down and thoroughly plan our budget. Every little expense that we can think of should be itemized and then reviewed with the contractor to make sure there are no other hidden expenses. It’s suggested also to leave some extra money for the inevitable surprises. Mainly older homes often unveil pipes leaking, mold or rotting, so it’s good to keep an extra 10 percent in reserve in case such issues pop up along the way.
8. Don’t be too optimistic – it will take longer than you think
We all want the project done sooner than later so we can start enjoying the finished look, but we should have the realistic expectation of how long the project may take. Generally, the more specialized project and works, such as electricity or plumbing (many permits and inspections are necessary), the longer the project will take overall. We cannot forget about all unforeseen problems such as deterioration that requires repair, faulty wiring or undiscovered damage that can also add extra days or weeks to our remodel.
9. DON’T ASSUME THAT YOUR DREAM RENOVATION PROJECT ISN’T POSSIBLE !
These are the most common pitfalls most people face when they renovate. Take note of these mistakes and take steps to avoid them. This way, you can ensure that renovation process will go smoothly and you will be happy with the results.