A home remodel is a major investment. If you’re going to do it—you want to do it right the first time and avoid as many mistakes as possible.
Thankfully, you are not the first person to renovate your home. Take the time to learn from those who blazed the trail ahead of you. It may just save you a lot of stress, unnecessary expenses with your remodel project, and a fortune in therapy sessions.
Here is our list of 8 common home renovation mistakes that are easy to avoid:
1. Hiring a contractor without doing enough research.
We can’t overestimate the importance of hiring a trustworthy contractor. You need someone with experience who has the right answers to all your questions.
If you choose an inexperienced contractor, you may find yourself traipsing across town to try to find building permits. That’s not your responsibility, by the way. And you may find an inordinate number of mistakes, delays, and extra expenses. Not to mention, shoddy craftsmanship.
No one needs these kinds of headaches!
2. Not reading the home renovation contract thoroughly.
When hiring a design team, architect, drafter, general contractor, or interior decorator, take the time to completely understand your contract.
If you have an experienced, reputable professional, they likely have the entire process mapped out with each stage and all the things you should expect along the way.
They may even have a schedule, a list of who is responsible for what, and a method in place to handle disagreements, should one arise during the building process.
When you go into the process with a clear understanding of what will happen and when it should happen and what you can realistically expect, you will be well-prepared for the process.
Also, as you read the contract in the beginning, look for anything that may be missing that needs to be added to avoid potential problems in the future.
3. Having no set work schedule for the construction.
Your remodeling project design firm, contractor, interior decorator, and any other team members should coordinate a master schedule from the beginning.
Everyone should know what happens when so that all the moving parts fit together well and no one ends up having to wait on someone else for weeks.
Also, if you will be living in the home during the renovation, you need to know how to plan your life and schedule each day.
If your team can’t provide a set schedule for you, that’s a problem. It may mean they don’t have a plan and aren’t willing to coordinate one. It may mean they are working on other projects, too, and just plan to fit your job in whenever they have extra time. If that is the case, the build will likely take a lot longer than you expect it to.
4. Micromanaging your team.
We know this is a tough one. But it’s important. So we’ll just spell it out. Your team doesn’t need you to be there, trying to control every moment of every day.
Yes, you should absolutely be very involved. Yes, your team should listen and seek to understand your vision and goals. Yes, you should be welcome to stop in and check on progress and ask questions.
But if you decide to sit in a chair to watch everyone’s every move 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 8 weeks, it may be time to rethink your strategy.
If you have a good team, trust them to carry the weight of responsibility and execution of the project, themselves. They are the professionals. Check on them once per day or every couple of days, whatever you are most comfortable with.
You didn’t want to have a DIY remodel, right? So enjoy the fact that you don’t have to do the work and you don’t have to be the project manager. They will figure things out, and you will stay on top of things to be sure everything is great.
5. Being too trendy.
We love this modern staircase. It’s very elegant and stylish looking. But when you are having a major home remodel done, it’s wise to think ahead. What happens when your teenagers come home in a few years with babies, toddlers, and young children?
Or what happens if you pull your back during a tennis match? Suddenly climbing those stairs without a handrail feels as impossible as climbing Mount Everest.
Trendy can be fun—for a while. But when your massive home remodeling project looks passé two years after you invested in it, that’s a mighty disappointing problem. Or if it doesn’t meet your needs in the near future (and distant future, too), was it a worthwhile investment for you?
A good interior designer and interior decorator team can help you opt for timeless rather than trendy.
If you’ve got to have trendy, choose things that are easy to change like fabrics, pillows, window treatments, accent lighting, and decorations.
As you plan your home design and let your dreams run wild, do yourself a favor. Stop to consider your current and future needs, the real estate market in your neighborhood, and how the changes you decide to make could affect your home’s resale value. Then you won’t make a home renovation mistake you’ll regret.
6. Not considering workflow and livability.
You’re ready to bring your 1980s kitchen into the 2020s knowing your current kitchen work triangle isn’t really working for you. You have to open the oven to open your sharp knife drawer because of poor design. But you think, “Hey, it’s probably easier to just keep the sink, fridge, and over in the same place.” No big deal.
Keeping the work triangle in the same place may make the remodel work easier. But at what cost? If the workflow is awkward or the traffic patterns through the room don’t work, why not deal with that while you are redesigning the kitchen? Then you’ll have no regrets and completely fall in love with your new space.
The placement of outlets, furniture, windows, and doors is important. That’s what architects, drafters, and interior designers are here for. To help you create an efficient, thoughtfully designed space that is a joy to see and also a joy to live your life in.
7. Focusing on aesthetics rather than structural integrity and safety.
It’s easy to go wild for the aesthetics of your home renovation project and skip all the “boring stuff” behind the scenes. Here’s the thing, though. Yes, you can wallpaper over a big crack in the wall. But if you have a foundation problem in your home and you don’t address it, your home may not be structurally sound and safe. Waiting to fix structural problems often ends in disaster or, at least, much greater expenses down the road.
The first priority has to be the safety of your family and loved ones. So while you are tackling the renovation, take care of the most important things first so you have good bones upon which to build. Then add all the beauty your heart desires to your bathroom or kitchen remodel or your whole home remodel.
We encourage you to consider the most important priorities first in your budgeting and material choices.
8. Unrealistic expectations of what it is like to live through a remodel.
If you plan for your family to live in your home during a big renovation project, it’s wise to bring your expectations in line with reality. Home renovations are messy. Noisy. Inconvenient. Sometimes they are even smelly when contractors use certain chemical treatments, adhesives, or paints.
Your home won’t be magazine perfect during demolition and construction. There’s dust, sometimes. Yes, even when the contractor puts up plastic to close off the work zone.
It’s impossible to hammer quietly if you’re doing it correctly. And power equipment is just very loud.
If you are having large-scale remodel work done or you are having the only kitchen or only bathroom in your home renovated—we have some sage advice. For your own sanity, we recommend considering moving into temporary housing until the project is completed.
Then you can have a peaceful life away from the chaos and just come to check on things. You won’t have to worry about your kids’ safety. You won’t have to function with just a microwave and toaster oven as a “kitchen” with a bathroom sink for washing all the dirty dishes in.
Living without a real kitchen or bathroom for weeks or months is hard. If you don’t have to do it, splurge and give yourself an oasis away from the work.
Phase One exists to help you have the best possible luxury remodeling experience, avoiding home renovation mistakes other people have made.
At Phase One, we make your home improvement project as fun, easy, and painless as possible. We take the stress off your shoulders and let you experience the joy of remodeling and watching your home transformed into a gorgeous paradise.
We have designers and contractors on staff so we know how to create the absolute best home design for you that won’t create problems later with your contractor. We can even help navigate the communication process with your contractor for you.
We can’t wait to get started on changing the home you have into your forever home!