After 30+ years in the remodeling industry, we’ve heard almost all of the horror stories and are well aware of homeowners’ fears & trepidations with respect to a home remodel. We’ve come to learn of the common remodeling mistakes homeowners repeatedly make that result in nightmare situations and contractors getting a bad rep’! Therefore, to help, we’ve compiled a list of 4 common remodeling mistakes to avoid when undertaking a home remodel.
1- Timing & timeframe – The first and one of the most common remodeling mistakes we see homeowners make involves time or lack thereof. Often do homeowners contact us wanting to start their remodel almost immediately, however remodeling requires a flexible, realistic timeframe.
One of the biggest factors that almost always isn’t considered is the time it takes to select, order, and manufacture the materials needed for a project. Take for example cabinetry in a kitchen remodel. Most cabinets require at least a minimum of 4 weeks to be made & delivered (and that’s being very modest). If you hire a contractor that says he’s can start your kitchen remodel immediately and have your kitchen gutted by the following week, you’ll have to live the next few weeks without a functioning kitchen. Additionally, you run the risk of your contractor abandoning your job to start another, further extending your cabinetry install and inconvenience.
Time is by far one of the most important considerations to make when planning a remodel but often is disregarded due to rushing into a project. A remodel requires proper timing on every front: from hiring to planning, to ordering, and commencement. We always try to remind homeowners of these matters and will candidly tell them that if a contractor can start your job immediately, you may want to ask “why?” as most reputable contractors will be booked out for some weeks; furthermore, ask if they plan on being at your job every day. Chances are that if they can start your job immediately, they’ll also be attending to other jobs, too, which can increase complications and potential problems.
2- Interviewing Only 3 Contractors – Commonly, when we teach homeowners how to hire a contractor, do they inform us of interviewing only 3 contractors and selecting the best of the bunch—that person usually being the most affordable of the three! Here’s a huge tip: the most affordable contractor may not be the best contractor! Whether we’re educating homeowners at one of our free seminars, or at an introduction appointment, we always tell them to interview as many contractors as it takes—DO NOT SETTLE! If you’re not happy with how a potential contractor is conducting himself on the initial interview, chances are you won’t be thrilled with him throughout the duration of your project. When it comes to investing in a home remodel, we always recommend homeowners do their research; read through reviews, ask the contractor for references, and most importantly, be thorough! It may be tedious to meet and interview multiple contractors, but it will be well worth it in the long run!
3- Budgeting – For most homeowners, their home is their largest financial asset. Typically, when one chooses to invest in remodeling, their goal is to not only have a beautiful new space but also to increase the value of their home. The waters are often muddied here when the budget is either A) unclear B) unrealistic and C) a combination of both! When the budget is unclear, this complicates the process for everyone involved, including the homeowner, contractor, designer, and any subs. When planning a remodel, stick to your budget, but at the same token, leave yourself some “wiggle room” for any unforeseen issues that may arise and any change orders that may occur. We recommend having a conversation upfront with your contractor about your budget, that way everyone can be on the same page.
In the same respect, be sure to set a realistic budget, too; the saying “champagne taste on a beer budget” often comes to mind here. While having “top of the line everything” may be nice, it’s best to spend within your means. Try splurging on just one area of the project, rather than them all, such as on the countertops or light fixtures. Again, have an open conversation with your contractor about this, as they may be able to help guide you with your selections.
4- Being Indecisive – Lastly and at times the most costly of the remodeling mistakes we see homeowners make involve them changing their minds—a lot! Just as we recommend with the budget, stick to your guns with your remodel. When homeowners repeatedly change their minds, communication becomes unclear, mistakes happen, and remodeling costs only increase. Commit to your remodel, your selections, and what you want—after all, it’s your home and your investment! Try not to be influenced by family, friends, or any outsiders who say otherwise. If you’re unsure, have questions, or do want to change your mind on something, communicate with your contractor right away. Your contractor is there to make your remodel a reality but being too indecisive only impedes on the process.