What may start out as a simple project to install new countertops or paint the trim can quickly escalate into a full-blown renovation project that might ultimately take over your house. And once headed down this path, you may be in for years of off-again on-again renovation that is never quite completed.
Baseline knowledge needed for DIY remodeling
Duo Dickinson is an architect and an author and he warned, "If you’re going to take a hands-on approach, you really have to have a certain baseline knowledge." Otherwise, your renovation could turn into the project that never ends. You should also be flexible enough to realize that remodeling involves setbacks, workarounds, and unexpected expenses. Time tables need to be fluid in order to take this into account and homeowners who once begin the home improvement project should be prepared to change their plans on a moment’s notice.
Put aside contingency funds
When you begin, make sure you have a good idea of your budget, but set aside extra for contingency plans as well. And once you have a little put away "just in case," put away a little extra again. You can’t have too much in savings. Abby Adams is co-author of "Love Where You Live: At Home in the Country" and she counseled homeowners the following: "Try to economize on the things that are not so important or visible and save your money for things you’ll really see and enjoy." For instance, you might substitute synthetic wood for real wood because it’s cheaper but has the same natural look. You could also choose a cheaper alternative to custom cabinetry in order to have money for the fancier bathroom fixtures you want to have installed.
Check your dangers and keep to the code
Before any work gets underway, be sure you have your house checked for any potential dangers. Homes built more than 30 years ago might have lead paint or asbestos in the insulation and you’ll want to have those areas checked out by a licensed professional. You also don’t want to mess around with plumbing or wiring if you haven’t had experience with it before. There are specific building and construction codes that need to be followed that the average homeowner knows nothing about. Dickinson said, "You absolutely want to bring in a plumber or electrician or general contractor to make sure that every single thing that is going to be dealt with in your renovation is safe."
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