Common Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Are you planning to remodel your home? Be forewarned: whether big or small, making reno blunders can be costly and devalue your home. Find out how you can avoid these common home renovation mistakes.

Home renovation projects can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. It’s best to learn from the mistakes of others so you can make the most out of your investment. At best, renovation mistakes are costly and unpleasant; at worst, mistakes can mean damages to parts of your home or even a safety hazard.

Arming yourself with knowledge can help you avoid making these potentially disastrous mistakes:

Mistake #1: Rushing the process.

More often than not, people focus more on the end date rather than taking the time to plan the process when it comes to home renovations. What they’re forgetting is that a proper renovation takes a lot of preparation, and that in the end a detailed plan will help them stay on the budget and even save them time. Make sure to talk to experts sooner rather than later to better understand the aspects involved and still have plenty of time to make important decisions. Be very specific with your contractor before the work begins and make sure to get everything in writing. Expect to go through revisions with your contractor until you are satisfied that the project is well put together. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot realistically plan for every eventuality in a home renovation. There will be unforeseen events which can potentially extend the amount of time it will take to finish the entire renovation. A good rule of thumb is to add 10 percent more time than originally projected. This also leads to…

Mistake #2: Setting a budget without a surplus amount for emergency expenses.

You will inevitably run into unforeseen issues once the renovation is well under way, especially if you’re renovating an older home. You don’t have to tell your contractor, but make sure to put a buffer of approximately 15 to 25 percent when budgeting to cover any potential surprises so you won’t be caught unawares.

Common Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake #3: Ignoring any issues that emerge.

Still in connection with the previous two items, unexpected issues will arise once you start your home renovation. For example, tearing a wall down can expose electrical or plumbing issues and it’s important that you deal with them before you close the walls back up. Ignoring the problem now, because you are on a tight deadline and/or budget, can lead to bigger problems in the future.

Mistake #4: Not obtaining the right permits.

Getting permits may seem like a tedious task, but it is a necessary one. Without the required authorizations to perform renovation work on your home, there’s a possibility that it won’t meet local building codes which can jeopardize your safety. This could also affect your ability to sell your home, should you choose to go that route. You will also get into trouble if your neighbors complain about your renovation. In addition, in the event of an accident, you won’t be covered by homeowner’s insurance if you can’t provide proof that you have authorization to perform work on your home.

Mistake #5: Buying cheap materials.

It’s understandable to want to save as much money as possible, but when you buy cheap materials or finishes, you get what you pay for. It’s better to choose the best quality products that fit your budget, or else you might find yourself making costly repairs after just a few months because you cut corners. Investing in quality materials and finishes will save you money (and the headache) in the long run. Experts will tell you that if you’re going to renovate, do it well. If you can’t afford to do it well, it’s better to wait and save up some money until you are able to do so.

Mistake #6: Making inaccurate measurements.

Even an error of an inch, or half an inch, can make a big difference and seriously affect your plans. Keep in mind that the margin of error in the construction world is ¼ of an inch. If you’re not sure about how to measure, call somebody who knows how to do it and ask them to do it for you.

Mistake #7: Doing too much of the work yourself.

We live in the days of Pinterest tutorials and how-to YouTube videos, and while it is a worthwhile pursuit to learn to DIY a lot of things, sometimes it’s just best to leave the remodeling work to professionals. Some of the tasks involved in renovations are complicated and beyond the scope of most homeowners, such as rewiring electric, hanging drywall, or installing a roof. Mistakes can reduce the value of your home or even be downright dangerous. Know when to hand the reins over to experts especially for projects involving electrical, plumbing, HVAC, gas, and the structure of the entire building.

Mistake #8: Choosing the wrong contractor.

Get different house contractor quotes so you can compare them. Check references and inquire about their credentials. Make sure that the contractor you choose has the proper licenses for the work that you require. Don’t forget to check with your local Better Business Bureau to find out if the contractor has ever been reported for negligence or unethical practices. Make sure that the contractor and any subcontractors that they work with have insurance coverage. Choose a contractor who knows, understands and fits your personality and needs. There should be an open line of communication between you and the contractor. He or she must be willing to take the time to sit down with you and explain their course of action. The contract should include everything you discussed, as well as the breakdown of labor and materials or a flat rate. A reputable contractor will have you sign the contract prior to the start of the renovation.

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