Top 10 Home Renovation Mistakes New Homeowners Make
Home renovation has become one of the most significant sources of entertainment in this country, as well as one of the main areas where new homeowners spend their hard-earned money.
What can be more exciting than getting into your new home? Whether it’s 100 years old and falling apart, or a new build, there’s usually a reason you bought your house, and it’s about to become your pet project.
However, what you don’t know you’re doing wrong could cost you in the end. Read on to find out which mistakes to avoid.
Common Home Renovations Mistakes
1. Renovating Before You Live in the Space
One of my pet peeves about some of these construction-as-entertainment shows is how “designed” the homes are at the end.
When it comes down to it, no designer can plan perfectly for how you live in a house. A good designer can, and will, ask how your home flows, where the traffic patterns run, and where there are bottlenecks.
You have to live in a space before you know these things.
2. Not Leaving Wiggle Room in The Budget
Many times you will hear “plan 20% more in your budget than what you think the project will cost.”
It’s true. You may run into any number of problems. Renovations, with some few exceptions, always take longer and cost more than planned. The more you can expect the unexpected, the better.
3. Being Afraid to Look Stupid
No matter how many design shows you have watched or how many DIY projects you have done, it’s never easy to understand blueprints. If you pretend to understand something you really don’t, there could be big problems in your future.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There are no stupid questions when it’s your money.
4. Not Choosing the Right Contractor
We have said this a million times: choosing the lowest bid is likely to be a waste of money. There is a reason someone is giving you a low bid and is immediately available.
Likewise, not every company is a good fit for every customer. Not all designers have the same aesthetic as their customers. However, if they are not asking enough questions about what you want, it may be time to move on.
5. Not Asking for References
You need to know the quality of your contractor’s work, and you need to know what they’re turning out recently. Ask for their three most recently completed jobs. Ask to see their current work sites.
You want to know how clean, timely, and professional your project is going to be.
6. Not Establishing and Sticking to a Timeline
You have heard the term “decision fatigue.” It’s a real thing.
You wouldn’t believe how many small decisions you need to make along the way. It’s a good idea to sit down with your contractor and get a timeline for various decisions, so you can get to work.
The last thing you want is to blow the budget on last-minute light fixtures because of poor planning. Or worse yet, ask for a change order when it’s too late. I’m not kidding; it can cost you $1500 to move a wall socket at the wrong time.
7. Only Thinking Interiors
Any time you get into a home renovation, you can uncover problems within the structure itself. You might not like it, but if you don’t pay attention to your roof and house exterior, those fancy floors will be toast anyway.
8. Forgetting Your Measurements
Write down ceiling heights, door widths, spaces for furniture, and permanent fixtures like bathroom sinks. You’ll thank yourself later when you find the perfect thing only to discover that it’s two inches too big. Better to find that out in the store!
9. Trying to be a General Contractor
General contracting is a full-time job. Contractors have solid relationships with their sub-contractors that you can’t match, no matter how courteous that plumber is. You will save yourself 100 migraines and get top-notch work if you hire a general contractor.
10. Not Preparing for Power Dynamics
Last but not least. We see it all the time. Couples who thought they were ready to take on a renovation project together who aren’t. Opinions and anxieties you never thought existed come out when you are renovating a house together.
Start with one project first and see how you do.
Bringing it Home
I hope this helps you take on your next home renovation project with more confidence. Is your home located in Southeast Michigan? If you have any questions about home renovation or how to get started, please call our office today. We’re honored to help in any way we can.