You don’t want to spend years dreaming about your home renovation, then spend several months of living through remodeling work — only to feel less than thrilled with the results. The good news is you don’t have to. Here are the 10 most common renovating mistakes to avoid so you can be assured of the end result.
If you don’t budget properly you will soon run out of money. When that happens, you could be left with an unfinished project or property. Either you need to live with it or sell. No buyer is willing to pay top dollar for an unfinished product, so you will probably end up incurring a loss.
Remember, you don’t get a second shot at your budget and the money you lose from making a mistake cannot be taken back. Proper budgeting and planning from the outset is essential.
Tip: Always include a 10% to 20% buffer in your budget for unexpected costs — and you can guarantee there will be a few of these when you’re renovating.
Not Having a Detailed Budget
Not drawing up a detailed budget leaves you vulnerable to running out of money. Your budget needs to dictate the renovation — not the other way around.
Thinking DIY Will Automatically Save You Money
The DIY trap catches out a lot of remodelers. Not only can you end up with some very dodgy renovations, but it will probably take much more time than an experienced pro.
Limit your DIY tasks to things such as painting and simple landscaping jobs, and dedicate your time to project managing the renovation.
Choosing the Cheapest Contractors
This often happens when you are trying to keep costs down, and it can lead to added costs down the road when you end up having to fix mistakes or redo poor-quality work.
The cheapest bid doesn’t equal the best job. Instead of focusing solely on the affordability of a contractor’s quote, check exactly what that quote covers — this is where the true value, or lack of value, lies.
Get quotes from at least three contractors and compare them in detail.
Tip: Before making your decision on contractors, you should also look for evidence of quality work, project photos, professional recommendations and possible turnaround times.
Choosing Poor Floor Plans
The function of a room and how it flows, directly affects your use of a space. A well-conceived room layout can also add to the value of your home. Yet many remodelers ignore function and traffic flow when making a floor plan and instead focus all their attention on color and finish.
To avoid making this mistake, spend more time in the planning stage. Think about details such as the placement of doors, windows and power points. Come up with a sensible floor plan that makes it easy to move through the space and use it to its fullest potential.
Not Having a Clear Plan and a Detailed Scope of Work for Your Remodel
This often comes down to insufficient research and planning at the very start of the renovation, before any work gets underway. If you don’t have a clear plan, you’ll find yourself constantly changing your mind, which costs time and money — and will also drive your contractor mad!
Tip: It’s also a very handy to have a clear plan to fall back on if a dispute arises with a contractor.
Being Unsure About the Exact Look You Want — or Not Knowing the Language to Describe It Accurately
Before you embark on a build, spend time working out what look you want to achieve. Create ideabooks and use digital visualizers to get a sense of how different layouts and finishes will work and look.
Also, become familiar with the proper terminology for the looks and finishes you want. This can really help you accurately communicate your wishes to your pros.
Neglecting to Fully Research All the Materials Options
Materials play a vital role in the look and function of your home, but builders often fall back on the same ones they’ve always used. This is where you come in. Spend time researching the various materials options available (including looks, price, pros and cons, sustainability, durability and which ones are best suited to your location), and take this information to your builder. Armed with this knowledge, you can decide together on the most suitable materials and finishes for your project.
Not Seeking Out a Builder Who Understands Your Vision
Lack of communication on a build is not only frustrating (for both parties), but can mean you end up with a home that’s far from what you wanted. Take the time to find a builder who is expert at creating the look you want.
Not Dividing Up Responsibilities Fairly
This one is for renovating couples. Not working out clear lines of responsibility at the start that are matched to your strengths and weaknesses can lead to arguments, resentment and wasted time. Before any building work commences, spend time working out exactly who will do what and who is available when.