Almost everyone approaches the prospect of remodeling a house with excitement and determination. Unfortunately, those feelings can cool off rapidly once the reality of the situation hits you.
Home renovation can be a lengthy and frustrating process. Homeowners who realize they are staring down a disruptive, occasionally messy, and expensive remodeling project often make some big mistakes in an attempt to make the process less impactful. You can avoid these pitfalls if you know where to look for them.
We want to level with you:
While we would all love it if we could simply point to a picture in a catalog, say “That one!” and have the kitchen, bathroom, or living room of our dreams magically appear, it simply doesn’t work that way.
There is a lot of planning, negotiating and patience required on the part of you, the homeowner. Trying to make the process go faster or cheaper can sometimes get you into big trouble.
So here are the 8 biggest mistakes to avoid during your renovations:
Overestimating Your DIY Prowess
It’s true that you can save yourself some money if you are able to do a portion of the renovation work yourself.
But here’s your gut check:
Be brutally honest. Did a single semester of shop class in high school truly prepare you for large-scale carpentry work? Likewise, just because you can tighten up a leaky shower head; does that mean you should start soldering pipes on your own?
If you have actual construction experience, then you can and should jump into the project, assuming you want to. If you don’t have solid skills, you may end up doing some damage to your home, resulting in a repair bill on top of your remodeling costs.
Professionals ply their trades all day, every day. They can spot potential problems that the average person may miss, and they can do the job faster and more efficiently. This is especially true of highly specialized tradesmen like electricians and plumbers. Messing up in one of those areas can have serious consequences.
Going With the Cheapest (or Most Readily Available) Contractor
Let’s be clear:
You should not allow yourself to be overcharged or treated unfairly, but if you run into a contractor who is quoting you much less than others, consider why that might be.
Remodeling contractors should provide you price quotes with extensive details. They should have specific plans outlined for job aspects such as permit costs, a general contractor fee, a waste removal plan, and insurance.
Make sure your contractor has also included information about how changes to the project are handled once the project is already underway, as this can make a big difference in the final price tag.
Of course, also consider the way the estimate is written as well. If you receive a document saying something along the lines of “finished basement,” with few other specifics outlined, you can safely assume your contractor did not carefully price out your job. He may be quoting low just to get his foot in the door. That’s a red flag.
One last point:
If you run into a string of contractors who all have a waiting list, and then one who mysteriously doesn’t, maybe take a pause before hiring him. The best ones can sometimes require advance booking.