Home improvement projects can turn a house into a home. Homeowners plan scores of renovations to transform living spaces into rooms that reflect their personal tastes and comforts.
Homeowners going it alone may find things do not always go as planned. In fact, a Harris Interactive study found that 85 percent of homeowners say remodeling is a more stressful undertaking than buying a home. But homeowners about to embark on home improvement projects can make the process go more smoothly by avoiding these common pitfalls.
Failing to understand the scope of the project
Some homeowners don’t realize just how big a commitment they have made until they get their hands dirty. But understanding the scope of the project, including how much demolition and reconstruction is involved and how much time a project will take can help homeowners avoid some of the stress that comes with renovation projects.
For example, a bathroom renovation may require the removal of drywall, reinforcement of flooring to accommodate a new bathtub or shower enclosure and the installation of new plumbing and wiring behind walls. So such a renovation is far more detailed than simply replacing faucets.
Not establishing a budget
Homeowners must develop a project budget to ensure their projects do not drain their finances. If your budget is so inflexible that you can’t afford the materials you prefer, you may want to postpone the project and save more money so you can eventually afford to do it right.
Without a budget in place, it is easy to overspend, and that can put you in financial peril down the line. Worrying about coming up with money to pay for materials and labor also can induce stress. Avoid the anxiety by setting a firm budget.
Making trendy or overpersonal improvements
Homeowners who plan to stay in their homes for the long run have more free rein when it comes to renovating their homes. Such homeowners can create a billiards room or paint a room hot pink if they prefer.
However, if the goal is to make improvements in order to sell a property, overly personal touches may make a property less appealing to prospective buyers.
Trends come and go, and improvements can be expensive. If your ultimate goal is to sell your home, opt for renovations that will look beautiful through the ages and avoid bold choices that may only appeal to a select few buyers.
Forgetting to properly vet all workers
It is important to vet your contractor, but don’t forget to vet potential subcontractors as well. Failing to do so can prove a costly mistake. Contractors often look to subcontractors to perform certain parts of a job, and it is the responsibility of homeowners to vet these workers.
Expecting everything to go as planned
Optimism is great, but you also should be a realist. Knowing what potentially could go wrong puts you in a better position to handle any problems should they arise. The project might go off without a hitch, but plan for a few hiccups along the way.
Overestimating DIY abilities
Overzealous homeowners may see a renovation project in a magazine or on television and immediately think they can do the work themselves. Unless you have the tools and the skills necessary to do the work, tackling too much can be problematic. In the long run, leaving the work to a professional may save you money.
Home improvements can be stressful, but homeowners can lessen that stress by avoiding common renovation mistakes.