You don’t want to spend years dreaming about your home renovation, followed by several months of living through remodeling work — only to feel less than thrilled with the results. The good news is you don’t have to. We asked three renovating experts to share the 10 most common renovating mistakes to avoid so you can be assured of a great outcome.
1. Underestimating Costs
Renovators who don’t budget properly soon run out of money. When that happens, they can be left with an unfinished property they are forced to sell. No buyer is willing to pay top dollar for an unfinished product, so the renovator often ends up incurring a loss.
Remember, you don’t get a second shot at your budget and the money you lose from making a mistake that cannot be taken back. Proper budgeting and planning from the outset is essential.
Tip: I also always include a 10% to 20% buffer in my budget for unexpected costs — and you can guarantee there will be a few of these when you’re renovating.
Naomi Findlay Pty Ltd2. Choosing the Cheapest Contractors
This often happens when renovators are trying to keep costs down, and it can lead to added costs down the track when they wind up having to fix mistakes or redo poor-quality work.
The cheapest bid doesn’t equate to the best job — this is something I can’t emphasize enough. Instead of focusing solely on the affordability of a contractor’s quote, check exactly what that quote covers — this is where the true value, or lack of value, lies.
Get quotes from at least three contractors and compare them in detail. It also pays to get an idea about how much work each of them has on so you can gauge potential turnaround time.
Tip: Before making your decision on contractors, you should also look for evidence of quality work, such as testimonials, project photos and professional recommendations.
James Hardie Australia3. Choosing Poor Floor Plans
The function of a room and how traffic flows within it are two of the most important aspects as they directly affect your experience of using the space. A well-conceived room layout can also add to the value of your home. Yet many remodelers ignore function and traffic flow when producing a floor plan and instead focus all their attention on color and finish.
To avoid making this common mistake, spend more time in the planning stage. Think about details such as the placement of doors, windows and power points. Come up with a sensible floor plan that makes it easy to move through the space and use it to its fullest potential. For example, in a compact space, you may look to maximize built-in seating and storage that doesn’t impede traffic flow and enhances the room’s sense of spaciousness.
4. Not Having a Detailed Budget
Not drawing up a detailed budget leaves you vulnerable to overcapitalizing or running out of money. Your budget needs to dictate the renovation — not the other way around.
5. Thinking DIY Will Automatically Save You Money
The DIY trap catches out a lot of rookie remodelers. Not only can you end up with some very dodgy-looking renovations, but it will probably take you triple the time it would have taken an experienced pro.
Limit your DIY tasks to things such as painting and simple landscaping jobs, and dedicate your time to project managing the renovation.
Renovating For Profit6. Not Having a Clear Plan and a Detailed Scope of Work for Your Remodel
This often comes down to insufficient research and planning at the very start of the renovation, before any work gets underway. If you don’t have a clear plan, you’ll find yourself constantly changing your mind, which costs time and money — and will also drive your contractor mad!
Tip: It’s also a very handy thing to fall back on if a dispute arises with a contractor.
Naomi Findlay Pty Ltd7. Not Dividing Up Responsibilities Fairly
This one relates to renovating couples. Not working out clear lines of responsibility at the start that are matched to your respective strengths and weaknesses can lead to arguments, resentment and wasted time. Before any building work commences, spend time working out exactly who will do what and who is available when.
Before you embark on a build, spend time working out what look you want to achieve. Create ideabooks on Houzz and use digital visualizers to get a sense of how different layouts and finishes will work and look.
Also, become familiar with the proper terminology for the looks and finishes you want. This can really help you accurately communicate your wishes to your pros.
Platinum Fine Homes9. Not Seeking Out a Builder Who Understands Your Vision
Lack of communication on a build is not only frustrating (for both parties), but can mean you end up with a home that’s far from what you wanted.
Take the time to find a builder who is expert at creating the look you want. Ask them to describe the look to you and what makes it different from other building or decorating styles. Once work on your project gets underway, you’ll find that all sorts of questions and decisions about details come up relating to your chosen aesthetic, and you’ll be very grateful that you’re dealing with a professional.
D’Cruz Design Group Sydney Interior Designers10. Neglecting to Fully Research All the Materials Options
Materials play a vital role in the look and functionality of your home, but builders often fall back on the same ones they’ve always used rather than researching contemporary alternatives that might be more suitable for your project.
This is where you come in. Spend time researching the various materials options available (including looks, price, pros and cons, sustainability, durability and which ones are best suited to your location), and take this information to your builder. Armed with this knowledge, you can decide together on the most suitable materials and finishes for your project.
TMarshall DesignTell us: Share your remodeling tips and advice in the Comments.