How to Avoid 6 of the Biggest Mistakes in Remodeling

We all know that remodeling usually involves a lot of time and energy.  No one wants to spend more time or money than they need to, but they do want a room they can be comfortable using.  Our goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes and still get the room you’ve been dreaming of.  Most people experience a major remodel only once or twice in their lifetime, so most likely you haven’t had a whole lot of experience with planning or preparing for a remodeling project. You want to get it right the first time. The best way to have a successful project is to get advice from someone who has had lots of experience.  We’ve compiled a list of 6 of the biggest mistakes that you can make and our suggestions on how to avoid them.

Doing multiple projects without a master plan in mind

There is nothing that adds more cost in a remodeling project than doing the same project twice because those steps weren’t planned and completed in the proper order.  You shouldn’t redo your landscaping and add a deck if you are planning an addition in that same spot in the next year. Usually people do projects as they can afford them — maybe windows this year and new deck next year. There is nothing wrong with this idea as long as you have a master plan you are working toward.

An example of this would be replacing your windows one year, only to do a major exterior remodel the next year.  Windows and their placement play a huge role in the architectural design of your home.  Without a master plan you may create a situation where your vision will be limited by having to adjust the style goals of your project to integrate the new windows you just put in or even removing, moving and then re-installing the windows you just paid to have put in.  Creating a master plan for your next remodeling projects allows you to anticipate how and what you plan on remodeling next and prevents you from having to redo the work you’ve recently done, making the best use of both your money and time.

Starting before you have a plan

Every time we get a phone call from a potential client who tells us that they’ve already started demoing the room they want to remodel, we sigh just a little for them.  Unfortunately, we can almost never start your project tomorrow.  (Unless it’s an emergency!)  The planning and estimating stage alone can easily take more than several weeks to complete.  If you are overly excited about beginning your project, you may end up living in a construction zone for far longer than you really need to or having to rebuild walls that could have remained when you took a sledgehammer to your house without a plan.  Our plans and schedules are specifically designed for each homeowner and project to disrupt their lives as little as possible.

Starting without a budget

The easiest way for our clients to stay within a budget is for them to make a budget goal before we start the process. By starting with your budget goal we can help you make selections and plans that will keep you as close to your budget as you want to be.  You need to be aware of just how closely you need to stick to your budget.  That allows you to make good decisions about whether you can afford to include that special item in your project.

It’s always important to keep in mind that even the best designers and engineers can’t see what’s behind or in your walls or floor.  We would recommend budgeting an additional 2 to 5% over your contracted amount to cover any unexpected issues that may be discovered in the remodeling process.   That way you aren’t surprised by unexpected costs and if it’s not needed you can use the funds to add something extra to the room or save it for the next project!

Working without a permit

Technically, all major home repairs and remodeling projects require a permit, especially those with changes to the layout, electrical plan or square footage of your home. PLEASE do not assume you can perform the work and worry about things like zoning and permits once the project has been started. If an inspector sees construction underway, it can be shut down if you cannot show the proper permit. Even if the work is complete, under some circumstances you can be required to tear it all down and start all over- this time with a permit. If you do manage to finish your project without getting caught, building without a permit can cause serious problems when you attempt to sell or refinance your home. Your work could be called into question and it may affect the appraisal or sale. If you hire a reputable builder to build your project, they will secure the appropriate permits from the correct agency as one of the services they provide.

Overbuilding for your neighborhood

Overbuilding happens when homeowners invest more money into their home and make it more valuable or unique than the market or the area can support. In an attempt to get back some of their remodeling costs when selling, often these homes are much more expensive than the other homes in their neighborhood. This frequently makes them take much harder to sell, or sell for much less than anticipated.  While most people these days aren’t remodeling for a quick resale, you still need to think about how your remodeling choices will affect your future resale potential.  Ultimately the question is if you will gain the value that you feel is acceptable from your remodeling project.  If your remodeling project will make your life significantly easier or better that may be enough value for you.

Ignoring your project once it’s started

The homeowner is the most important part of a remodeling team. It is important to stay involved throughout the project. If you aren’t living in the house during construction, we strongly encourage you to be aware of what’s going on in your home on a daily basis. Contractor’s questions need to be answered as quickly as possible, and errors can be avoided if you are aware of what’s going on. Sometimes interesting design opportunities are exposed, especially during the framing phase. Communication becomes especially critical both at the beginning of your project as things are starting and at the end as the finishing touches are being installed.

Remodeling your home is exciting!  The more you plan, think and prepare for your project the more likely you will be to avoid these costly mistakes.  We love to help homeowners get the room of their dreams.  If you have a project in mind and are looking for assistance, please feel free to contact us here.