How to Avoid Costly Renovation Mistakes
We’ve all been there. You’re standing in your outdated bathroom and start thinking about the possibility of a renovation. Your mind starts whirling with ideas: paint colors, lighting options, countertop material, and more. You dream about the end result. But homeowners know that making dreams a reality takes a plan, a budget, and a professional to guide you.
Before taking a sledgehammer to any counters or removing floor tiles, it’s imperative that you think before you act. Remodeling can be a major headache if done improperly. Without a plan in place you can count on longer timelines, obstacles, unexpected costs, and an end product that wasn’t exactly what you envisioned.
How can you avoid costly renovation mistakes? Here are a few points to consider:
Select the right contractor. In this case, doing your homework extends past your school days. Doing your research before beginning your project will ensure you’re not left unhappy and frustrated at the end. Yes, your neighbor might “have a guy”, but many times that “guy” isn’t the right fit. So who is?
Choose contractors with care. The first company you interview may not be the best choice. By talking to at least three contractors and getting several quotes, you’ll have a firm idea of your project scope, and possibly learn about some items you didn’t consider. Different contractors will offer unique perspectives.
Choose a contractor that not only provides you with a plan from scope to completion, but should offer you confidence. Good companies have a portfolio of previous work – and they’re happy to share it with you! Excellent communication and the ability to listen to your needs are essential for any contractor relationship. And don’t be afraid to ask for references. All of this information should be readily available to you.
Create a budget…and stick to it. You need to go into your renovation with a vision and a budget, and yes, they can coexist. When working with your trusted contractor, sit down and figure out what your costs will be. It’s not a bad idea to allow for 10-15% over the number you come up with to allow for surprises or unforeseen expenses.
We’ve all heard the horror stories-people doubling, even tripling their budgets. You want to avoid that by preparing and planning ahead. Be upfront about your budget and any reputable company will work with you to adhere to it, while still creating something you’ll love.
Sticking to your budget does not mean choosing the least expensive contracting company. It’s tempting to simply select the lowest bid for your renovation. After all, you’re trying to save money. And while being cost-sensitive is great, don’t use price alone as your deciding factor. A cheap contractor is not necessarily the best, and if a bid is simply a verbal agreement, you might end up paying more than originally quoted. What is the quality of their work? Are they insured? Remember, if you’re unhappy in the end, you’re going to end up paying more to fix their mistakes later.
Start with a clear vision, and stay true to it: Whether you’ve pinned inspirational photos on your phone or torn out pictures from magazines, start your renovation with a vision. Many of us spend time watching renovation programs on television. What speaks to you? Try to put into words (and pictures) what you want. Consider color palettes, design elements, and functionality. What do you want and what do you need from your renovation? Be clear when communicating this to your contractor.
While it’s nice to be a flexible person, it can be challenging when you change your mind in the middle of a project. You can absolutely make changes when you’re in the design stages, but when walls start coming down and plumbing and electrical work gets incorporated, changing your mind can affect your timeline and wallet in a major way. Be sure about your selections before work starts.
Avoid DIY for the big projects: Building a birdhouse? Of course. Constructing a new mailbox? Perhaps. Remodeling your entire first floor? For 99% of people-NO. We have TV and Youtube to thank for making things look much easier than they actually are. When it comes to remodeling, stick to hiring professionals.
Many first-time renovators make the mistake of thinking they can do it all on their own. Not only is it difficult to stick to any reasonable timeline due to work and life schedules, but often companies are asked to come in months (and several thousands of dollars) later to pick up the pieces. Just start by hiring an expert. You won’t regret it.
Homeowners make remodeling mistakes all the time. Do your homework, select the right trusted professional, create a budget, communicate your vision, and ultimately, you’ll be thrilled that you decided to renovate. The only thing left to do will be to enjoy your new space.
Did you know that at J&J, we really do believe that all remodeling projects should be stress-free? We’ve even trademarked our SUCCESS™ process of checklists and controls to ensure it happens. Hiring our design build team will make certain that your project runs smoothly from start to finish. Contact us to discuss your remodeling goals.
Download our complimentary E-book “Choosing the Right Remodeler”, HERE for additional information.