Home remodeling is expensive enough even when everything goes according to plan. When there are delays and unforeseen problems during the course of a remodel, it can drive up the cost. Sometimes this is unavoidable but many of the problems that cause remodels to go over budget and over deadline are the result of mistakes on the homeowner’s part. The following four mistakes are ones that most first-time remodelers make.
Demolishing without a plan
Once you tear down walls or gut a space, there’s no going back. Don’t let your hatred for a particular feature in your home lead you to prematurely tear something out before you have a plan to replace it. If you can’t stand the sight of your baseboard heaters any more, you shouldn’t tear them out before researching alternatives. You may find that the cost of installing centralized heating or newer baseboard heaters is out of your budget. Sometimes it’s better to work with your existing space and not against it. Returning to the baseboard heater heaters example, a better solution to ugly baseboard heaters might be shiny new covers for them. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you have a clear plan in place, a detailed blueprint for contractors to follow and realistic expectations of what it’s going to cost.
Not preparing for contingencies
As mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of delays and unforeseen costs. As you tear up flooring or remove drywall, you may come across things that aren’t up to code or perhaps you’ll find asbestos or mold or something else that needs to be addressed before work can continue. Because there are no guarantees when it comes to remodeling, you need to set aside extra in your budget, at least 15%, to account for possible problems. If you fail to do this you may run out of money before the work is done or you may have to change course mid-project and end up with a remodel you’re not 100% satisfied with. It’s better to set aside extra and have some left over than to run out of money mid-project.
Not hiring a general contractor
The general contractor is responsible for overseeing the entire project especially when multiple contractors with various specialties will need to be called in. The general contractor manages the schedules of the various subcontractors and will always have a list of reputable contractors for every kind of job. The general contractor keeps everything on schedule and makes sure all the various parts of the project are coming along nicely. Many first-time remodelers look to save money by taking on these responsibilities themselves. It’s harder than many think. First you have to do all the research on subcontractors and even then you might hire someone who does inadequate work. Second, you have to devote a lot of time to being on-site to oversee everything. It’s almost always better when undertaking a larger project to pay the money for a general contractor.
Not measuring correctly (or at all)
Incorrect measuring can lead to all sorts of problems and added costs. Say you’re measuring a space for a new refrigerator and you only measure the front of the opening and not along the wall that the fridge will be placed against. You may have assumed that the measurement at the front would be the same as the back but that’s not necessarily true. An appliance you had delivered may fit in the opening but be too tight a fit towards the back. Now you’re stuck paying a re-stocking fee and another delivery fee to order a replacement.