With so many potential remodeling pitfalls, it can be extremely helpful to learn from the mistakes of projects past. Knowing what not to do when you take on a remodel will help you make the most of your time and money and ensure that your project doesn’t go awry. To make your next project run more smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of the seven most common remodeling missteps.
Choosing the first contractor you interview
Take your time and get several bids when selecting a contractor. Check each potential contractor’s references and refer to your local Better Business Bureau to see if the contractor has ever been reported. Make sure insurance coverage is in place. Every contractor should also have business liability insurance. Every subcontractor working for that contractor should be covered under workers’ compensation insurance.
Find a contractor who fits your personality and who you can easily communicate with. Look for a contractor who will sit down with you and go over their contract, including the breakdown of labor and materials.
Creating an unrealistic budget
By unrealistic, we mean a budget that doesn’t allow for wiggle room. Generally, you should calculate your budget, then increase it by 20 percent. The 20 percent cushion will provide some peace of mind when the demolition of your kitchen walls reveals rot in your load-bearing studs, or when it becomes clear that an entire wall needs rewiring.
Being overly frugal
Don’t become overly frugal. There are many instances in which settling for the cheaper option can cost you in the long run. For example, vinyl flooring is cheaper than ceramic tile, but ceramic tile will most likely last longer and add more value to your home.
Paying more for building materials than you need to
There are various ways to cut down your materials costs. If you’re not rushed for time, keep your eyes peeled for materials at garage sales, estate sales, moving sales, and flea markets. And, if you’re working with experienced professionals, they will know how to incorporate the salvaged materials to make the finished product look just as good as if you had bought all brand-new materials.
Making your home clash with the neighborhood
A sure way to sour relationships with your neighbors and potentially harm your home’s resale value is to change your home’s size or facade, so it contrasts sharply with the character of other homes in your neighborhood. If you live in an area filled with bungalows, craftsman homes, or other traditional styles, be careful about transforming your home into a different style. Likewise, be thoughtful about additions. Make sure they don’t overwhelm the houses that surround your home.
Repeatedly changing your mind
Once your project has begun, try your best to stick with your plan. Repeatedly changing your mind can quickly become expensive. If you are feeling uncertain about something, discuss it with your contractor or designer. It’s important to communicate while you’re still in the planning process.