5 Common Remodeling Mistakes To Avoid

by / Wednesday, 05 February 2014 / Published in Remodeling, Remodeling Tips & Advice
remodeling mistakes to avoid

Remodeling your home can improve your lifestyle and showcase your personality.  We all want to make our homes more beautiful.  But renovations can easily be problematic if homeowners are not aware of possible stumbling blocks.  Let’s take a look at 5 common mistakes that homeowners often make.  But more importantly let’s examine how you can avoid these costly mistakes on your remodeling project.

Remodeling Mistakes-Inadequate Planning and Hasty Decision Making


According to Consumer Reports, the biggest remodeling mistake that was made by homeowners who had recently remodeled their home was rushing into the project too quickly.  If you rush into your project too quickly, you will not have adequate time for planning and research.  Before you worry about hiring the right contractor and setting a start date, take the time to educate yourself on your options.  You don’t want to learn about a new product or a remodeling trend when it is too late to add it to your renovation project.  The internet is full of great advice and inspiring pictures.  But you must already know this because you are reading this helpful remodeling blog.

You also want to take plenty of time in selecting the best contractor.  And remember that the best contractors are often the busiest contractors.  Although you may want to start your project immediately, it may pay to wait for the availability of the right contractor.

In order for your project to be executed smoothly there needs to be coordination with the contractor and well thought out planning.  Although an experienced contractor will have put the effort into accurately planning your project, it is important that you work together on planning and scheduling.

For example, if you wait until the last moment to make a cabinet selection and later find out that it will take months for your cabinets to ship, you have no one to blame except yourself.  Ultimately the homeowners and not the contractor will have to suffer from a remodeling project coming to a halt due to inadequate planning and scheduling.  The homeowners that have spent the most time on making important decisions and planning with their contractor will get the best remodeling results.

Poor Communication with Contractor

I sometimes get clients that want to go out of town on vacation so they don’t have to be around during their remodeling project.  This is a terrible idea!  The contractor cannot give you the best results without your input.  Think of the remodel process as a partnership between the homeowner and the contractor.  It is essential that the homeowner and contractor are in sync.  Clear and constant communication between the two parties is a must.  Trusting your contractor is important, but trust cannot take the place of good communication.  A remodel project is something that is tailored specifically for each individual homeowner.  The best and most trustworthy contractor cannot satisfy your needs if there is poor communication.

If you notice a potential problem, don’t assume that your contractor has it under control.  Construction mistakes happen all the time!  Even the most qualified contractors can make a mistake and it is the homeowner’s job to stay on top of their remodeling project.  Don’t be afraid of being a pest or asking a dumb question.  It’s your money so there are no dumb questions.  If something is on your mind, you need to communicate with your contractor.  Set up specific times to do a walk through, where the contractor can explain the progress and the homeowner can express any possible concerns.

Invest In Unique Projects or Overbuilding

You may have heard the saying that the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, location.  So it is vital that you consider your location as a main contributing factor when deciding how much you should invest into your home.  The comparative home values in your neighborhood ultimately weigh more on your home’s resale value than an elaborate renovation.  If you live in a house surrounded by more expensive houses, then a major renovation could pay huge dividends.  On the flip side, if your home is already at the top of your neighborhoods value, then you could lose money on the sale of your home from an over-the-top renovation.  There is nothing wrong with updating and remodeling your home to suit your needs, but you also want to recapture your remodeling expenses when you sell your home.  Most people move at some point even if they do not plan on it, so comparative neighborhood prices are important to keep in mind.

There is a house like the one in the above video in every neighborhood.  Avoid overbuilding for your neighborhood at all cost.

Just like overbuilding for your neighborhood, investing too much money in unique pet projects could jeopardize your invested money.  If you are going to spend $75,000 on an elaborate wine cellar, you better hope that your potential homebuyer is also an avid wine collector.  A smart remodel project is one that would appeal to the masses.  Everyone likes newly remodeled kitchen, bathrooms, or additions.  So avoid overly unique remodeling projects if you are concerned about a smart investment.  However, it’s your money so if you must have something unique added to your house — go for it.  Just be aware that your overly unique project is probably nothing more than a short-sided indulgence and not a wise investment.

Not Budgeting For the Unforeseen

When going into your remodel project expect the unexpected!  It is not uncommon that the contractor discovers a costly surprise during the construction process.  Even if you do your due diligence and bring in a contractor, architect, or inspector to examine your home some problems will not be discovered until you actually begin your project.  After opening up a wall you could find dangerous electrical problems, structural damage, mold, termites, etc.  You will greatly reduce stress during the construction process if you are prepared for the possible unexpected expenses that you may incur.  Remodeling budgets seem to always go over budget.  When you are figuring your budget, leave at least 5% of the total budget for unforeseen problems or style changes during the remodel.

Making Your Contractor Selection Solely on Price

Make sure you interview several contractors so you have the opportunity to choose from a large pool of potential contractors.  The more contractors you meet with, the more likely you are going to find the contractor that is perfect for your remodeling project.

money down drain

When it comes down to debating over the contractor’s prices, let’s keep it simple.  If there are quotes that are extraordinary low or extraordinary high, you can save yourself the trouble and throw these bids straight into the trash.  The cheap contractors will most likely cut corners, use inferior building materials, or probably lacks the technical competence to perform the job to the highest standards.  The high priced contractor is probably too busy to take on your project, or uninterested in your project after the visit, or just simply uneducated and unaware of the fair market prices.


Low Price ≠ Best Deal

High Price ≠ Best Quality

Your safest bet is choosing a contractor that is right in the median price range and offers the best value for your money.  Read this article about tips on how to hire the best remodeling contractor.

If you can think of any other costly mistakes that homeowners could make during the remodel process, please leave a comment below.

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