Let's face it. Remodeling a home has become America's favorite pass time. Just look at the explosion of programs on TV these days based on home projects. What they don't show you is the things that can go wrong. If you are looking to save money, time, sleepless nights, and tons of frustration, take some advice from the pros, or you may find yourself facing a do-over!
Here are the 7 most common mistakes when home owners invest in a remodeling project. Remember these when attempting your own project and hopefully you can avoid extras complications.
1. AVOID IMPATIENCE
STOP! Take a breath and calm down. Do not rush into any remodeling project! In fact when I help buyers find a new home and they have all these grand ideas of ways to change it, my advice is always the same. "Move into it first before you go spending tons of money on a project that may not be necessary." Speaking from my own personal experience, I once bought a home and tore everything out down to the studs and started over before I ever lived in it. I found out that if I had been more patient and moved in first, I would not have torn out as much as I did and it would have saved me a lot of money, time, sleepless nights and yes.... tons of frustration! Take the time to decide on your priorities, budget, and timelines and then come up with a plan. Revisions on the plan may be necessary until it is rock solid. Then do your best to execute the plan while keeping in mind to expect the unexpected!
2. AVOID CHOOSING JUST ANY OLE' CONTRACTOR
Now that you have a plan to follow, don't be rushing in and hiring the first contractor you can find. I know that you are excited and ready to get your project completed. Make sure you take your time doing some research. It's a good idea to get more than one bid when using a contractor. Ask them for names and numbers of people they have worked for in the past. Ask your neighbors, family or local real estate expert for some names and referrals for contractors they have worked with in the past. It's important to hire someone that you would be able to work easily with and make sure you get everything in writing.
3. AVOID UNDERSHOOTING YOUR BUDGET
Sadly almost every remodel project comes with extra unexpected expenses. Be honest with yourself when creating a budget. Whatever budget you have in mind, you should increase it by 20-25%. When an unforeseen expense occurs, the last thing you want to do is skimp on the important parts of the project.
4. AVOID BEING TOO CHEAP
There is no such thing as "saving money" in a remodel project so start thinking realistic now. This is especially important for you Do-it-yourselfers out there. Let's face it there may be certain remodel projects that you have no business doing. If you have very little skill or experience in the remodel project you want to attempt, sometimes it's best to leave it up to the experts. If not, you may find yourself way over budget once the experts are hired to repair or finish what you started. Consider the future appeal for a buyer if you ever decide to sell and future enjoyment you will have if the project is completed properly.
5. AVOID BREAKING THE BANK ON MATERIALS
This is different than being cheap as mentioned above. Many times we find ourselves so excited to complete the project that we become stupid shoppers rushing around to get it done. I recently found a gorgeous mantel for a fireplace that we are building in our home on a local online classified ad. (The mantle is pictured above). It was unfinished and never had been used. The owner sold it to me for only $150. I figured if I would have had it custom made it would have cost me over $1000. Be smart in shopping for materials and don't be afraid to use resources such as thrift stores, yard sales, online classifieds, outlet stores, closeouts, etc. You never know, you might score something awesome like I did. This is also another place that patience comes into play on your project.
6. AVOID BEING TOO DIFFERENT
I'm all about being your own unique self, however as you can see it can be taken too far. Your home should be one of the most important assets in your portfolio. It is very likely that you will devalue your property if it is too original. Your home should somewhat conform to the rest of the neighborhood you live in. Let your creativity loose too much and you will affect the neighbor values negatively too. Your neighbors may be on your doorstep yelling obscenities instead of bringing you cookies.
7. AVOID LOOSING SIGHT OF YOUR GOAL
Remember way back when you should have made your plan? Do you best to stick to it and don't take your eyes of the goal. If you start changing your mind mid-project your can see the $$$ go higher and higher. Keep focused on the end and complete the project you started. Too many people get distracted from the end goal and then for one reason or
another the project gets left undone. Listen to advice from your remodeling team, however maintain control and your will reach your goal.