Remodeling your home is a major financial and emotional investment. For larger remodeling projects, it’ll likely be one of the biggest purchases you ever make. Because it’s so unfamiliar and such a big undertaking, it’s easy to make mistakes that drain your funds, time, and overall excitement about your project.
This blog post will help you avoid these common remodeling mistakes and feel more confident in your project. To narrow our focus, we’ll assume your project is big enough that you decided to hire a remodeling contractor to help you.
Not Spending Enough Time Planning
Remodeling projects go awry when they are rushed. Most of the heavy lifting for a successful remodeling project happens during the planning and design phases, and these phases can take multiple weeks or months. Here you are clarifying your goals and expectations, selecting materials, figuring out the logistics, and getting feedback from professionals. If you rush into your project without spending adequate time in the planning and design processes, you’ll be hit with multiple change orders and extended timelines during construction.
Most homeowners don’t want to discuss budget with their contractor before getting an estimate. There’s a fear that if you disclose how much you’re willing to spend, the contractor will give you an estimate at that number even if they can do it for less. Because of this, homeowners often receive an estimate that is 50-100% more than what they expected. Why is this the case?
Homeowners tend to underestimate how much their remodeling project will cost. This makes sense because most people only go through the remodeling process a few times during their lives and aren't up-to-date on the cost of materials. On top of this, remodeling shows such as HGTV give viewers an unrealistic expectation of how much renovations actually cost.
When faced with an estimate that is 100% more than originally budgeted, most homeowners will shut down their plans or find a different contractor who can do it for cheaper. To read why this approach often doesn’t work out, read our other blog post, “The Benefits of Hiring a Design-Build Firm”
Instead of avoiding the budget question, we recommend you discuss budget with your contractor before they begin the estimating and/or design process. If you’re working with a design-build firm, the more upfront you can be with your budget the more satisfied you’ll be with your project.
Neglecting Emotional ROI
When we talk about return on investment in home remodeling, we often talk about it from a financial perspective. “How much will I recoup if I remodel my kitchen?” “What are the highest ROI remodels to increase home value?” These are very logical questions for any homeowner to be asking, especially if your plan is to sell in the next year or so. But if you’re putting down roots and plan on being in your home for the foreseeable future, don’t neglect emotional ROI.
Emotional ROI is the improvements you feel in your day-to-day life. It’s the smile on your face when you walk into your new kitchen, designed exactly how you’ve always wanted. It’s the joy you feel when you walk into your new room addition and your kids are in there playing video games (or quietly reading a book, of course.) It’s the excitement you feel when you invite friends or family over and you get to show off your beautifully remodeled space. It’s hard to quantify these benefits, but it would be a mistake to neglect them as you’re planning your project.
Underestimating The Time And Energy Of Doing-It-Yourself
If you want to open up your kitchen, add more cabinets, move bathroom fixtures, or add a whole new structure to your home, it can be tempting to cut costs and do it yourself. There are endless online resources that can teach you everything you need to know, and it can be satisfying to tackle a project like this by yourself. While this can be exciting at the outset, the excitement typically fades away the deeper you get into the project and realize how long it’s actually going to take.
Most homeowners would rather spend their weekends and nights exploring their hobbies or being with family than watching how-to YouTube videos. It might cost more to hire a professional, but it’s worth the time you’ll get back to do what you love with whom you love.
Too Good To Be True Bids
As stated in other blog posts, we’re not big fans of the design-bid-build process in general. But if you do go this route, make sure to examine each bid with a sharp eye. The lowest bid, especially if it is shockingly lower than the others, is often misleading. It’s a common tactic by dishonest contractors to bid low to win the project, only to make up the cost throughout the project with change orders and other hidden fees.
Remember, you tend to get what you pay for in the remodeling industry. Spending a little extra money can ensure your project is done right and meets your expectations.