From Jennifer on May 18th, 2010 in Tools and Tips
While humanity often seems averse to change, everyone likes a beautiful home remodel. It gives a sense of newness, renewed pride, improvement, and progress. But what many don’t know is that so much can go wrong during any phase of the project, especially now in a tough economy and slowly recovering housing market. Here are the 10 pitfalls of remodeling in 2010, and how to steer as clear from them as possible.
#1 – Unqualified Contractors. As unemployment rises, the number of new “contractors” in the marketplace increases, too. Research your potential contractors well; check their license to be sure it’s current and appropriate for the type of work you’re doing, find out how long they’ve been in business and always ask for references.
#2 – Unrealistic Budget. Most homeowners don’t remodel too often, and so their budgets tend to be unrealistic. Check out typical costs for your project and try to determine ahead of time what it’ll cost in your area. You can get free estimates to compare among contractors, ask friends, family and neighbors about their recent remodeling experiences, or browse around the web for more info.
#3 – Little to No Value Added. When it comes to choosing your remodeling project, think about the value of your home, even if you have no current plans to move. It makes no sense to update your bathroom, for example, if you have a leaky roof or rotting foundation that must be tended to. Structural needs should come first, cosmetic projects last.
#4 – Being Indecisive. As a contractor’s wife, I can say from experience that no one is harder to please than the customer who has no idea what they want. While it’s great to keep an open mind and consider recommendations by your contractor, it’s even better to shop around ahead of time and know what your likes and dislikes are.
#5 – Shoddy Materials. If the overall cost of the project seems high, there’s a temptation to shop for cheaper materials. Searching around for better deals on quality materials is good, but purchasing lesser-quality materials to save cash will prove disastrous. This is one of those times where you get what you pay for. Poor quality materials won’t look as nice, nor will they be as durable or practical in the long run.
#6 – Lack of Planning. A project that goes smoothly is one that has been planned for at least as long at the actual labor is performed. Nail down as many details as possible before contracting to have any work done. Don’t just think about the improvements you’ll make – think about how that particular project will impact the usefulness and appearance of the rest of your home.
#7 – Over Your Head with DIY. DIY home improvement is great….if you truly are qualified. Too many homeowners get in over their heads by thinking they can save money and perform the work of a trade-specific contractor. This can lead to injuries, unfinished projects and mistakes that make a home unsafe. It’s often more expensive for a professional to undo your mistakes than to simply hire one in the first place.
#8 – Too Trendy. While it’s tempting to update your home with the latest and greatest, keep in mind that so many trends of the past have found rooms looking like time capsules. Trends are fleeting; design your home improvement projects with styles that are classic and lasting. Save the trends for the easily removed or replaced accent features.
#9 – Over-Building & Remodeling. Bigger isn’t always better. Plan your projects no larger than your actual needs. Too often, homeowners add more space or more features to their home than are appropriate, making it a bit conspicuous. Know your area and keep your home improvement project within the scope befitting your neighborhood.
#10 – Poor Communication. Poor communication can plague any aspect of life, and it holds true during construction projects as well. Be sure you and your spouse communicate well to ensure you don’t send mixed signals to your contractor. Also, keep in regular contact with your contractors so that you’re always on the same page. If some part of the project isn’t up to your standards, talk about it with your contractor immediately – before it becomes too difficult to go back and fix.