From the budgeting process to choosing countertops, we’ve compiled a list of the mistakes homeowners often make before and during the remodeling process. Recognizing these missteps before you begin your project will help you bypass the costly mistakes.
Lack of planning
Remodeling any portion of your home is a major undertaking. Never rush into a project. Part of your planning will be deciding on what the end product will look like, taking proper measurements and planning for contingencies. Don’t forget to connect with your city’s code enforcement office to ensure you’re able to make the desired changes. In some communities, changes – especially to the outside of a home – must meet certain criteria.
Even if your budget is small, don’t plan for every dollar to be used on labor and material. You’ll want to set aside about 20 percent of the budget for the unknown. Contractors may find improper wiring, old pipes or rotted wood. Whatever the obstacle, you need to have money reserved to cover the cost.
After you’ve decided on the work, get bids from several contractors. Check references and ensure the company is licensed and insured in your state. Check in with your local Better Business Bureau to see if previous clients have filed complaints against the contractor. And, if the contractor plans to sub-contract the work, make sure those companies are insured as well.
Not knowing where to splurge
Don’t be blinded to the myriad of options available, even if you “know” you want certain features, like hardwood floors or granite countertops.
Hardwood floors may not be conducive to your lifestyle if you have pets or young kids. The scratches caused by a growing family can be costly to repair. Go with a more durable single-board laminate that’s a better (and cheaper) fit for your family. The same is true for granite countertops. If you need the money somewhere else in your budget, opt for a less expensive material like butcher block or plate steel.
Skimping on the structural aspects
It’s tough to hand over money for parts of a project you’ll never see, but skimping on the utilitarian aspects of a project may cost you more down the road.
Energy efficient windows will cost more at the time of purchase, but over time, you’ll recoup that money and more in heating costs. If you’re remodeling a bathroom, purchase a bathroom membrane system. Cosmetically, you won’t know it’s there, but it prevents your bathroom – which is constantly warm and damp – from growing mold.
Most importantly, do your best to stick to your initial plan. Changing your mind multiple times throughout a renovation only drives up the cost. By understanding what not to do, you can make the most of your time and money.