Spring is coming soon, and with it comes the opportunity to begin remodeling projects! Because there are many things that could go wrong with any remodeling project, it pays to have some help from the pros who have already done what you want to do. This way, you'll save time, money, and a boatload of frustration at possibly having to redo a project. Here are seven of the most common mistakes people make when they begin a remodeling project. Once you're aware of them, you can work to avoid making the same mistakes on your own projects.
Don't rush into any remodeling project. Think it through, decide what your priorities will be for the project, and come up with a good plan that you can follow. Revise this plan until it seems rock solid, and all your goals for the project will be met. Price out the work, and then try like crazy to stick to your plan, and your pricing. Of course, you should always expect the unexpected, but if you have a solid, realistic plan, hopefully that'll keep the unexpected at a minimum.
Avoid choosing just any contractor
Don't rush to choose a contractor, or choose the first one you talk to in order to get the work underway. Hey, we understand you're excited at the prospect of beginning your remodeling project, but you could be making a costly mistake in both time and money if you don't do your research first when it comes to a contractor. Talk to several contractors, and check each reference. Talk to people in the town you live in that have had remodeling done in the past year or so. Ask for referrals. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if the contractors have complaints (and take these complaints with a grain of salt). Be absolutely certain that the contractor you choose has insurance in place. Choose a contractor that you like as a person, and that you feel comfortable communicating with. And of course, get everything in writing.
Avoid undershooting your budget
Be realistic about the budget you create for the project. Leave yourself quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to dollar amounts allocated for specific parts of the project. Whatever budget you already have in mind - you should increase by 20% in order to give yourself the necessary cushion if something doesn't go as planned and goes over budget. There are things you just can't foresee, and those are the things that will break the bank if you don't anticipate them ahead of time. The last thing you need is to have to skimp on important parts of your remodeling project because something happened that used up funds.
Avoid being too cheap
You are not going to "save" money in a remodeling project, so get it right out of your head. This isn't the time to nickel and dime your way around spending money. Consider the future appeal of the work to be done and how it might affect the selling price of your home. Consider the enjoyment with which you'll enjoy the remodel if it's done properly without trying to penny-pinch. This also comes into play for do-it-yourselfers who think that they can save money by doing the remodeling themselves. If it's something you are capable of and skilled enough to do correctly, then go for it! But if it's not, you'll spend more money fixing it than you would have by simply hiring a professional in the first place.
Avoid breaking the bank on materials
Over-spending on materials is a no-no. Again, this happens largely because of lack of planning, and the homeowner feeling rushed to get the job done. So plan ahead - look for sales at home improvement stores, and definitely keep your eyes peeled at garage sales, moving sales, flea markets, and estate sales for materials you may need. Also look for salvage stores, and call around to different materials companies who may offer you "seconds" that they can't use or sell at a deep discount. Note that this isn't the same as the penny-pinching we mentioned in tip number 4. This is simply smart buying of materials that are going to work exactly the same as "brand new" materials would, but at a fraction of the cost.
Avoid being too different
Creating a home that doesn't harmonize with your neighborhood is always a huge mistake. It's one thing to be unique, but it's another thing altogether to lower the neighborhood's value because you want to be different. Your home's resale value will be less, as will the resale value of the homes around yours, if your home sticks out like a sore thumb.
Avoid losing sight of your plan
Once you have created your realistic remodeling project plan, stick with that plan. If you begin changing your mind about things, that's when the price tag starts to go higher and higher. Listen to suggestions from your remodeling team, but always keep your goals for the remodeling project at the forefront of your mind.