8 Critical Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid

It doesn’t take much to run a home remodeling project over budget. If it’s important to you to keep your savings intact, avoid these common mistakes before construction begins.

We interviewed Riverside Construction’s owner, Andy Haste, to find out what breaks people’s budgets when they remodel their homes. Here are some helpful tips to help you circumvent those errors:

  1. Changing Your Mind After Construction Has BegunOne of the biggest, most costly remodeling mistakes a homeowner can make is making changes after construction begins. One advantage in working with a design/build firm is that every detail is thought through and even previewed, and fixed to a budget, before construction begins.
  2. Failing to Define Your Project Scope (Not Creating a Master Plan)Every home remodeling project should start with a clear project scope. A professional contractor can help you define your master plan and make sure every detail is accounted for. When meeting for the first time, expect to answer a lot of questions, especially WHY you are remodeling. By flushing out this deeper understanding of your home remodel, a remodeling contractor earns his weight in gold by coming up with creative, cost-effective solutions that you might never have thought of.Other questions you should be prepared to ask are “What are your needs, wants and desires for your new space? What do you love about your home? What don’t you like about your existing space? What is the size of your family? Is it expanding or will you be empty nesters soon? How often do you entertain? Where do you and your family spend most of your time? The more details you can flush out up front, the more precise a professional remodeling contractor can be in coming up with ideal solutions for your new living space.
  3. Choosing a Contractor Solely on PriceEveryone loves to save money! But the old adage “You get what you pay for” is never more true than when you hire a remodeling contractor. Choose a remodeling firm that has a stellar reputation in the industry. Start by asking for referrals and evaluate new companies by reading their online reviews and client testimonials. Some companies even provide direct access to their client survey results. Pay attention to the comments and how issues are handled.Instead of choosing a contractor solely on price, pay close attention to the overall value you will receive. Are they likely to still be in business five years from now when something needs fixing? Do they offer a workmanship warranty, and will follow up on their commitment to stand behind their work?Choosing a contractor shouldn’t be so much about “can they frame a wall or put in a sink”. It should be more about whether or not they have established trust in doing the job you need them to do. Emphasis should be placed on HOW the work is done. Will they protect your home? Will they do what they say they’re going to do? What measures will they put in place to protect your family or pets? Can you reliably trust them to carry out your vision?
  4. Failing to Create a Realistic BudgetOne of the key advantages in working with a design/build firm, in particular, is that they can help you determine a realistic budget up-front before construction begins. Make sure you work with a remodeling contractor that listens to your needs, develops a scope of work, and guides you in a design that realistically fits your budget. No time or money is wasted when you design to a budget that you can afford right from the start.
  5. Taking Too Little Time to Consider Specialty ItemsThe last thing you ever want to experience after spending valuable time and money on a home remodel is regret. “I really wish I’d put in that glass tile I wanted,” or “I’m really disappointed that we didn’t put in quartz countertops,” are statements that a quality contractor will ensure you never say six months or three years after your remodel is complete.Creating a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ is a helpful place to start. A design/build firm will incorporate these items into the design discussion early on, before a conceptual design and budget proposal are presented to you. This allows you to incorporate your needs into your overall plan and specifications right away. Be prepared to address why you want your ‘must have’ items as well. A reputable contractor will want to know WHY you want these items so they can present you with alternative options and steer you in the right direction.
  6. Not Knowing the Process Going Into Your RemodelHaving a clear understanding of the home remodeling process you’re about to embark on is a smart and effective way to alleviate anxiety. You should know approximately how long your project will take, what date it will be done, how your home will be managed and protected (both the construction and non-construction areas), when and how your ideas will be incorporated into the design process, and more. When you are looking for a contractor that is right for you, be sure to get a thorough understanding of their design and construction process.
  7. Not Being Prepared for the UnexpectedAny time you embark on a home remodel, no matter how old your home, you want to go into your remodel with a clear understanding of what to expect. Be prepared for dust and noise, for starters. And, have a plan in place for your pets.Unexpected situations can also rear their ugly head as soon as you start tearing down walls. Whether there is dry rot found behind a soffit, or dangerous electrical wiring that needs to be replaced, it is important that you prepare yourself for these types of surprises also. A reputable contractor will be able to set all of these expectations up front and help you set a realistic budget.
  8. Not Exploring ALL Options for Adding Space in Your HomeDon’t want to move, but desperately need additional square footage? One obvious solution is adding a new room addition to your home, but there are other options as well. You can maximize storage and reclaim space by creatively reconfiguring your existing space. Do you have a basement or attic that can be refinished? Do you have a wall that can be knocked down to improve traffic flow? By discussing your needs with a reputable remodeling contractor, you can explore all options that add square footage to your home, without breaking the bank.

Contact Riverside Construction today, for more information.  We would love the opportunity to help you with your next remodeling project.  Take the first step by scheduling a conversation with a design consultant.

ADDING ON: SHOULD YOU BUILD A HOME ADDITION?

Is your house starting to feel small? Does it lack vital amenities, like a spacious kitchen, which is negatively impacting your family? Perhaps you’ve been thinking about moving, but don’t want to take on the added stress and exorbitant costs associated with such a decision. Not to mention you like your neighborhood, the school district and the amenities that are close to home.

If you’re happy with where you live, perhaps building additional square footage is the right decision for you.

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To get started, explore your options

Consult a remodeling professional who can help you explore all of the many possibilities of expanding your house, including alternatives to a major renovation (referenced below).

Building Outward

A true way to “create space” is building out. This new space is unhindered by existing structures and usually pays for itself emotionally and financially. Homeowners don’t typically need to move out during construction.

Building Upward

Arguably better than building out, is building up—“the sky is the limit”. This usually is an expensive undertaking (and often cost prohibitive), but can be worth the investment, and might involve vacating the home for a period of time.

Here are 10 ideas for expanding your house out and up, courtesy of Houzz.

 

Know what you’re getting into

A successful addition is made to look like it was part of the original structure. It involves everything you would find in new home construction, including the foundation, framing, zoning, permitting, flooring, plumbing, electrical, etc.

It’s also one of the smartest ways you can add space to your home. Adding a new space is like designing a whole new house, but without the expense of a whole new house. But, it’s not something you can take on yourself. Ideally, consult a professional designer who can help you determine the feasibility of your vision, making sure your addition will add the desired value to your home.

Alternatives to a Major Renovation

If your home is too small or in need of a new room, there are alternatives to maximizing your home’s existing space without building more square footage. Here are a few examples of how you can simply reconfigure your home’s existing space, to save time and money:

Finish the Basement or Attic—Turning an attic or basement into a guest room, family room, or home office suite is by far less costly than expanding your home. All you )need to do is build finish details inside the shell.

Remove Wasted Square Footage—Take a look at the original footprint of your house and determine whether it’s feasible to remove a wall, eliminate a closet or reconfigure traffic flow to allow for the extra space you need. Designers are trained to help you discover your homes hidden potential.

Knock Down Walls—Many homeowners today are remodeling with an open floor plan in mind. Open layout floor plans foster family togetherness and provide lots of options for entertaining. By eliminating doorways and removing walls that separate the kitchen, dining room and living room, homeowners can obtain the space they need at a fraction of the cost of an addition.

Repurpose Existing Rooms—If you have rooms in your home that don’t get much use, now is the time to consider repurposing that unused room and turn it into space you can use. Turn that unused living room, for example, into a TV/media room; or convert a storage room into a much-needed home office that doubles as a guest room.

Whether you are considering a room addition or an alternative to an addition, Riverside Construction can help you develop a plan that fits your needs.

For inspiration on how to build a room addition onto your home, visit our design gallery. To schedule a free consultation with one of our designers, call 765.838.1644 or fill out our contact form.

We will also be scheduling a seminar on room additions this Spring. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.

KEY 3 – DESIGN YOUR PERFECT FLOOR PLAN

Designing your perfect floor plan is one of the more exciting steps in remodeling your home. But for those of you who struggle with visualizing what it will look like, enlisting the help of someone who has experience designing rooms or experimenting with various layouts may be incredibly helpful.

In the first two keys we recommended defining your objectives and creating a wish list for your project. The next step is exploring how to get help turning your wish list into a functional and visually striking floor plan and how to experiment and think through various layout options.

Getting Help – If your project requires structural changes or is a large scale project, it is wise to seek the professional services of an architect or designer who specializes in kitchens or bathrooms or a company that can help you with your entire process from designing to building. Architect and Designers can both help you design the rooms that you are remodeling, but they won’t do the building for your or be able to provide you with an accurate estimate. Full service contractors, like Riverside Construction, have design/build capabilities in-house which offers a more complete solution. These firms offer both the expertise in the design and construction of the part of the home you are planning to remodel. Choosing someone you are comfortable with who can guide you through this stage is vital to coming up with a floor plan, schedule, and budget that is right for you.

Choose a professional who will tailor a plan that will address your wish list and find ways to incorporate as many items as possible. Work with someone who is willing and experienced enough to recommend different materials and construction options to give you a plan that you can enjoy and afford. Good designers will be creative and provide multiple solutions to accomplish your design objectives. By being flexible you will find ways to create that new “space” that will be just right for you and your family.

Thinking through the Floor Plan – As you begin to think through and review your floor plan, you’ll also want to think through furniture placement, traffic flow, and visual appeal. If you already have a clear vision of the room’s size and shape, you can begin this process now. The easiest way to experiment is by placing barriers and moving furniture in your current space so you have an accurate feel for what the future changes will represent. When that’s not possible, the next best thing is to draw the room to scale on graph paper and add potential furniture to the drawing.

As you experiment, you may notice problem areas or creative opportunities. These are the areas a designer or a company that offers a visual design can help you make the most of. Riverside Construction offers a 3D image or “rendering” of your remodeling project from various angles for just this reason. The rendering allows you to visualize your space which can often highlight changes you want to make. Using the 2D floor plan and the renderings, you can experiment with the placement your furniture, cabinets, windows and doors to get the beautiful space you want. We’ll help you make sure that when new counters, cabinets, and doors are installed, or walls are moved, that the walkways will be to your satisfaction and the room will be a functional, enjoyable room.

A few thoughtful hours invested now with a tape measure can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Altering your design layout once construction has started can add both cost and time to your project. Spend the time to get the feedback of others and to get comfortable with all aspects of the project. You’ll be glad you did.

If you need help with designing a room that is both beautiful and functional we would love to help you. You can contact us for more information. Missed the first two steps in our keys to remodeling with success? Read about the first step in remodeling. Read more about step two.

THE SECOND KEY TO REMODELING WITH SUCCESS

It has been said that the most successful people are goal setters. It is the same with renovation projects. The most successful renovations are those where there is a clear set of goal oriented objectives followed by the priority of items that you would like to see in your newly remodeled space. By clearly establishing the objectives of your remodeling project and the importance that each item carries it will be much easier to communicate your “wish list” to your Contractor. This will have a significant bearing when you are establishing your budget and design options.

The first step to a success in a remodeling project is to prioritize each wish list feature as to how important it is to meeting your overall objective. Put your highest priority item at the top of the list and then rank your other items in the order of importance, realizing that when budget and design considerations are taken into account, the items at the bottom of the list may or may not fit into your budget.
Don’t forget to let all members of the household share their input on the prioritized list and the reasons why each item is important to him or her. Once this step is completed you will have made significant progress toward a sensible plan that will accommodate the wishes and desires of all those involved.
The next step is evaluating which parts of the project will add the value that you desire to your home. Almost all remodeling projects will add value to your home. Not only by increasing your resale value, but just as importantly by increasing the utility and enjoyment you and your family will receive from your investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, a few of the projects that recoup the largest amount of their original costs are kitchen remodels, bathroom renovations, enhanced master suites and room additions. These values can vary depending on your home’s location, but regardless of where you live, any decision to remodel your home should be based on both the increased value and the personal satisfaction you will obtain from having new features and comfort added to your home.
If you are in the process of thinking about a remodeling project we are here to help you make your project a success! Please contact us for more information.

THE FIRST KEY TO REMODELING WITH SUCCESS

Each remodeling project should be designed to reflect who you are and how you use your home. The space you are remodeling should have the functionality you need, not just for your lifestyle today, but for as far into the future as you can see.
At Riverside Construction, we believe that as a more informed consumer, the decisions you make will ensure that you will enjoy the benefits for years to come, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in costly mistakes. Our team is here to help you get the most out of every decision. Here is the first key step to a successful remodeling project.


When you consider the space that you’d like to remodel, your emphasis should be on the way you hope to use the new room. You want to spend time considering how the new space should function – including how often it will be used, by who, and what possible wants and needs people might have in the space. Sometimes it’s easier to start with a list of frustrations and limitations of the current space.

Start with Walking Around
Having a general idea of what you want to resolve with your remodeling project is important. Start with walking through your home and making a list of what frustrates you. Be sure to include other family members as you go.
Is the space too small for your growing family or too difficult for an aging loved one to enjoy? Is the outdated style keeping you from entertaining guests? Is the room cold and drafty or does noise travel too easily from one space to another? Are you missing out on a beautiful view or stuck in the kitchen while the family is relaxing in the room around the corner? Are there structural problems as well such as low ceilings, leaky pipes, or creaky floors?
Of course some underlying problems will not be easily visible and will have to be dealt with when they arise. However, by taking into account as many potential factors as possible, you’ll help minimize surprises when it comes time to draw up a time-line and budget

Define your Project Objectives
Once you’ve completed your walk around and started to create a mental image of what you want to improve, the next step is to create your wish list and define your remodeling project objectives.
1. Are you wanting a new look?
2. Are there features of your home that have bothered you over time?
3. If there were no budget constraints, what would your ultimate space look like?
4. How do you see yourself using the remodeled or new space?
5. Do you like to entertain?

Asking yourself these questions can provide significant insight into the features you want and the look of your new kitchen, bathroom, or addition. By compiling a complete “wish list” you can then move to the next step and begin prioritizing your wants and needs in a way that will move you closer to your end goal.
If you are ready to take the next step forward with your remodeling project we would love to help you. You can contact us for more information.