When it comes to home remodeling, the finished product can leave you with a more livable, enjoyable and valuable place to call home. But the process of remodeling can be long and stressful—especially if the details aren’t meticulously thought out.
By familiarizing yourself with some of common mistakes people make, you give yourself a better chance at a smooth remodeling process, and an excellent final result.
Blunder #1: Trying to Increase Value Too Much
If part of your motivation for remodeling your home is increasing its value for sale, whether in the near future or somewhere down the line, it’s important to realize that your neighborhood—in particular the average house value in your neighborhood—is a factor. Some people put hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations to their homes, only to find that the value did not increase as much as they had hoped.
Before starting any major home remodeling project, it’s a good idea to learn about the average home value in your area. Talk to real estate agents and remodeling contractors about the kind of value you want to add, and get their input on whether it’s realistic. The more information you compile, the closer your expectations will line up with the actual value of your remodeled home.
Blunder #2: Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
It all sounds good in theory, but home remodeling is a big job. Many people choose to tackle the project themselves, or use a combination of DIY and contractor work. Unrealistic expectations about the length of a project, or how involved it can be, can lead to frustration, do-overs and delays—not to mention runaway costs.
Be realistic about what you can achieve with the budget and time you have. If you’re doing some or all of the work yourself, be liberal in your time and cost estimates. Coming in under budget and ahead of schedule is far better than the alternative, and making the right compromises can turn a potential fiasco into a remodeling success.
Blunder #3: Buying the Cheapest Materials
Short-term savings are always tempting. Why buy paint that costs $10 more per bucket? Why spend extra cash on brand name siding, when a product that looks the same is available for less?
It pays to think long-term in terms of the materials and tools you buy. Think about quality, durability, and protecting your investment. There are situations where the cheaper option will do, but always chasing the lowest price tag will cost you down the line.
Blunder #4: Leaving it All to the Experts
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply hand your plans to the remodeling contractor, go on vacation, and come back to find results that exactly match your vision? Of course it would—but this is rarely the case. Home remodeling is a very personal business, and it’s full of variables.
If you’re working with a contractor, one of the best ways to protect your investment is simply getting (and staying) involved. Check the work on an ongoing basis, and speak your mind. No matter how good your contractor is, maintaining an honest and open dialogue throughout the process is a huge factor in getting the results you envisioned.
Blunder #5: Following the Trends
It’s tempting to go for what’s “in” and remodel your home according to the hottest trends. The problem is, trends are out of date before you know what hit you. Just think of those plush carpets and wood panels that everybody loved in the ‘70s.
Classic finishes have stood the test of time for good reason. Remember—you’re renovating your home not only to look good this year, but for years to come. And if you ever plan on selling, you want your home to have wide appeal. Creative flourishes are good—but all-out trendiness can get old in a hurry.
Home remodeling is a big subject, but we hope this list of common blunders has given you some additional perspective on your project. Any thoughts or questions you may have are greatly appreciated!