5 Common Remodeling Pitfalls

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Breathing new life into your home with a well-planned renovation should be a fun and exciting process. But it’s a pretty involved process, too. And it’s not all pretty pictures and fancy finishes. Unfortunately, for some homeowners, the process that is supposed to provide them with their dream house can end up as a nightmare.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are some pretty common pitfalls in the home remodeling process. Let’s look at five of them—and how you can avoid them. And even though you may never handle a hammer or pick up a saw during your home’s remodeling, there’s still work that only you can do to ensure that you avoid remodeling pitfalls and end up with the home you’ve always wanted.

1. Budget Battles: A recent Harris Interactive survey revealed that almost 40 percent of homeowners didn’t have firm budgets for their renovations before beginning work. That can be a recipe for disaster. Meet with your builder before you sign the contract and set a budget so you have a framework. Will you go over your budget? Probably. But you need to have a good idea of what you’ll be spending. It’s a lot easier to make individual decisions if you have an overall budget established. By the way, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) suggests that homeowners should plan on exceeding their budget by approximately 10 percent.

2. Unrealistic Expectations: Sometimes homeowners have specific expectations regarding how long a particular phase of remodeling will take. Or they may expect the contractors to be present at specific times. Again, talk with your builder ahead of time to clarify how long things will take and when workers will be present. Occasionally homeowners have unrealistic expectations about the actual work. Just because you can envision it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Review plans with your contractor. If something you want isn’t in the plans, you can’t expect your builder to make it happen. Talk to your builder—a lot!

3. Putting Off Detail Decisions: Let’s be honest, some decisions are tough. But you don’t want to make your remodeler wait because you can’t make up your mind about tile, or flooring, or countertops, or cabinetry. Make your decisions (and place your orders) ahead of time. This doesn’t mean you can never make changes, but too many changes will cause delays—and costs—to increase.

4. Ignoring Change Orders: Sometimes—in spite of good planning—you simply need to make a change in your plans. It happens. Some homeowners (and builders) make the mistake of trying to cover this with a verbal OK. Make sure you and your builder agree on what specific changes are necessary, how they will affect the schedule, and how they will affect the cost. And get it in writing! This protects you and your builder from unpleasant surprises when it’s time to settle up at the end of the job.

5. Being Blindsided by Surprises: Home remodeling is part art and part science. Things almost never go exactly as planned. If you expect perfection, you’ll be frustrated—and so will your builder. Talk to your builder before work begins. Ask him what kind of issues he’s run into on similar jobs. Ask him how he’s worked around them. Prepare yourself mentally to run into a few bumps in the road—and prepare yourself to work with your builder to overcome obstacles.

You’ve probably picked up on a general theme here: One of the best ways to avoid remodeling pitfalls is through communication. Spend time talking to your builder before the construction dust starts to fly. It will save you a lot of stress later on!

If you need some advice with your remodeling project we are here to help!

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