Making home renovations can be a great way to increase your home’s value. It can also be a way to clear your wallet of any extra funds. Understanding the biggest mistakes homeowners make when renovating their home can help you make the right decisions as you make your renovations.
Plan for Unexpected Costs
You have a budget and you have quotes from your contractors, you think you have it all squared away. If you don’t have a contingency fund, though, you could end up in the red before you realize it. Contractors give you quotes based on what they see. If they are knocking down walls or making any other major renovations, they have no idea what issues they may run into. If you need to hire a specialist or pay for more materials, yet it’s not in your budget, it could stall the renovation process.
It’s a good idea to set aside at least 10% of the intended cost of the project. This way you have a cushion should something go wrong. If you don’t need the funds, you can then pay the principal down on your home equity loan, if you borrowed funds to make the renovations, or you could put it aside for a rainy day.
Don’t Hire the Lowest Bidder
It can be easy to focus on the cost of contractors, but don’t focus on cost alone. You want to focus on experience and capabilities too. It won’t do you any good to pay the lowest bidder for less than perfect work. If they leave you with other issues that you now have to have fixed, you could end up spending more than the more expensive contractor cost in the first place.
Do your due diligence when choosing a contractor. Ask a lot of questions; in fact, treat it like an interview. After all, you are interviewing them for a job. You want to know how many homes they have done work on like the work you need. Go as far as asking for referrals so that you can see for yourself the work the contractors can do. You will likely find that the lowest bidder isn’t the one you want working on your home.
Hire a General Contractor
A general contractor can look over all of the plans created by various subcontractors and help you decide what will work and what won’t work. It would be a costly mistake to find out after the fact that certain changes can’t be done without affecting other areas of the project. Involve the general contractor from the start. This can prevent you from paying for drawings that just won’t work out with the project. The general contractor oversees everything, which is like a second pair of eyes helping you make sure everything will work out as planned.
Get Building Permits
It might seem like a pain, a waste of time, or a waste of money, but building permits actually help you get the most out of the project. With a building permit, you are guaranteed that the work will be done to code. Without it, your home renovations might not be up to par, but you’ll find out the hard way when you go to sell the home. During the appraisal or inspection, you might find that the renovations you made aren’t up to code, which means you can’t sell the home.
Paying for the permits upfront will help you feel good about the changes the contractors make. They can’t cut corners or overlook the necessary codes in your locality. An inspector will have the final say when the work is done. If it’s not up to par, the contractors will have to go back and make it right, preventing you from having issues in the future.
Allow Enough Time
If your renovations will take you out of your home, make sure you allow enough time for them to be completed. In other words, add a cushion to the timeline provided by the contractors. As we stated above, things happen that are outside of the contractors’ control. If they need extra time, you might be out of a place to live for that time. Arrange for other housing for an extended period of time. You can always cut the time short should the project finish on time. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Do Your Research
Finally, do your research. You should have general knowledge regarding the changes you want to make and the contractors that you hire to do it. Don’t go into the process blindly. You should have a general understanding of how things will progress and what to expect. This will give you a chance to speak up when necessary rather than waiting until the final inspection to find out that something is wrong. Most importantly, choose your contractors wisely – they literally have your house in their hands.
Proper planning and careful steps can help your home renovation project be a complete success. Take your time in the planning stages so that the actual renovations go off without a hitch, or at least minimal hitches because you did your due diligence.