Renovating your home is almost always a good idea. As we go through life and our families
grow, we often find that we want things in our home which we couldn’t afford when it was first built. That leaves us with the choice of renovation or selling our home and moving. Of the two, renovation is often the better choice; causing less disruption to the family.
Many people end up having trouble with their renovations. What starts out as an exciting project often ends up being a headache for the people who are doing it. Why? Because they make lots of mistakes.
Let’s face it; most of us have no idea about how to go about a home renovation project. All we have is a vague idea of what we want when the project is over. Since we are operating from a surfeit of ignorance, problems are bound to happen. Most of those problems can be avoided. Here are the top ten we’ve found and what you can do to make sure that you don’t fall into the same trap.
- Doing it yourself – There are times to do it yourself and times not to. If you don’t know what you are doing, you’re probably going to reduce your home’s value, not increase it. Stick to doing the parts you know how to do correctly and hire an expert to do the rest.
- Starting a project before finishing the plan – Unless all you’re doing is painting, you need to fully plan out your project, before starting it. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting a lot of time and money, redoing things. Construction work has to be done in a particular order to prevent waste; without a plan, you can’t follow that order.
- Not creating a budget – Many people start out working on their homes without any idea of what it’s going to cost them. Then, when they get halfway through the project, they run out of money. That leaves them stuck, without the project finished. Develop a budget, so you’ll know if you can afford to do everything you want to.
- Making changes midstream – Changes are inevitable in any construction project. Even so, you want to keep them to a minimum. Often, those changes add to the cost of the project by causing things to be done over. A good plan will help eliminate changes.
- Not getting change orders – If you’re using a contractor, make sure you sign change orders for everything. Some contractors see changes as an opportunity to boost their profits. Save yourself from a shockingly high bill by documenting every change, along with its cost.
- Avoiding government red tape – The average homeowner that starts out to make a change never thinks about getting a building permit or having their work inspected. This can be dangerous, especially if your home has a fire or other disaster. If work has been done without a permit, the insurance company can use that as an excuse to avoid paying.
- Choosing the first contractor you talk to – When a contractor comes to talk to you about doing your project, they’re on a job interview. Any of them can look great in that interview; all they have to do is answer your questions and agree with your ideas. Interview several, to find the one you think you can work with the best.
- Being overly frugal – This isn’t the time to try and save money. Every dollar you save by using cheaper materials or cutting corners will cost you in the long run. You’re better off doing less work, but doing it well. That will add more to your home’s value and your enjoyment of your home.
- Buying more material than you need – It’s easy to go to the home improvement center and fill up your pickup with materials. But if you don’t need all those materials, you might have trouble taking them back. Often, materials become damaged on the job, making it impossible to take them back to the lumberyard. Make a material list, based on your plans and only buy what you need.
- Miscalculating the effect on resale value – A lot of people think that renovating their home will make their home much more valuable. While a lot of projects will add some value to your home, unless you are adding space or improving the quality, you won’t get that much of an increase. Much of what is done as renovation is really to restore the home to its original condition, not to make it more of a home; that doesn’t add to the resale value.
Taking some time to learn about construction, especially construction management can help you to avoid these ten pitfalls and have a much more successful project. If you don’t have the time or desire to learn about construction management, you’ll be better off hiring a project manager to take care of you. They’ll end up saving you money, by steering you clear of all these pitfalls.