Home remodeling is a journey, and it is often accompanied by many twists and turns. Whether you’re renovating a kitchen, bathroom, or any other room in your home, the remodeling process takes thorough consideration and planning. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes to avoid in the home remodeling process:
Mistake #1: Skipping the research phase
The research phase is not the time to call a designer or contractor. This is when you should think about why you want to embark on a home remodeling project in the first place, and what that might mean.
The research phase gives you time to clearly define what you want to gain from your remodeling project. Consider more than just the aesthetics of the space and set some overall goals. Some questions you might want to ask yourself include:
- What are the major pain points in how the room functions?
- Is it too small?
- Is it too large?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Is there enough countertop space?
You should also consider how much longer you are going to live in your home. If you are preparing your home for resale, you might stick with décor options that are neutral and appealing to a broad range of buyers. If you intend to stay in your current home, you can add a bit more personality to your remodel.
There are thousands of design websites and magazines that can give you information about features you like and don’t like, as well as how different types of materials hold up under different conditions. You can also check out homes of friends and neighbors or visit local home shows and retail showrooms. Research what the costs of materials and labor are, as well as how much time similar projects have taken to complete. You need to have a list of specifications for your remodeling project before you start to call contractors.
Mistake #2: Not setting a budget
The research phase is critical for you to understand what a project of the magnitude you want to undertake might cost. The overall cost is one of the biggest initial misconceptions when remodeling. This is due in large part to remodeling shows that gloss over the many expenses that accrue during the home renovation process.
Evaluate your “must-haves” list to see if the dollars you want to spend matches up with the work that needs to be done. If there is a significant disparity, you may need to consider financing options or delaying the project until you can save up some additional cash.
It’s extremely important to plan for the unexpected during the home remodel process. Many experts say that you should keep an extra 10 to 20 percent of the total project cost available in a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. If you think your budget and project are a pretty close match, share your projections with your contractor and designer. They need to know your financial parameters as well, and they may have great ideas on how to maximize the dollars you have to spend.
Mistake #3: Not getting bids from multiple contractors
Get bids from several contractors. Yes, your best friend may have a contractor they simply rave about, and friends and family are a great start for getting recommendations, but these shouldn’t be the end all be all. You and your contractor are going to work extremely closely together throughout the project, and it is important for you to be able to communicate well. While you are discussing plans, estimates, and budgets with several different contractors, you will get a good sense of how they might perform and if you will have a good working relationship with them.
Talking to several contractors also allows you to see how each of them will approach various challenges with your project and provide you with different opinions on how to solve them. By providing each contractor with detailed specifications, you’ll get to see how each chooses to allocate your budget.
In addition to your own interviews, you can check with Better Business Bureau local home builders’ associations to find out how long the contractor has been in business and if they have any complaints filed against them. Make sure the contractor has the proper insurance and is licensed in your area. You can also ask for references and call them to check. You are making a big investment, in both time and money, so don’t feel rushed into any decisions.
At Kitchen & Bath Center, we can assist with every part of the remodeling process, including picking contractors that we’ve worked with extensively and trust to deliver quality work in a reasonable timeframe.
Mistake #4: Not sticking to the plan
Once you’ve chosen your contractor, you will settle on a detailed scope of work and plan for your home remodel. It is beneficial to stick to it as best as you can. Once your contractor begins demolition and construction, they generally have all the steps planned out in a specific order to accomplish your project on time and within budget. If you keep making changes to the plan or the materials you want to use, the budget and the timeline will most likely start to creep up.
Of course, not everything will always go according to plan during the home remodeling process. If an unexpected problem is uncovered (say, you find a bad mold or mildew problem), you need to deal with it right away. That’s what your contingency fund is for.
Mistake #5: Keeping questions and concerns to yourself
Yes, you hired a contractor because they can perform a skill that you cannot, but that doesn’t mean you aren't allowed to question them. Communication is a two-way street. You can't solely rely on your project manager or contractors to predict what you'll have questions about.
If something doesn’t look quite right, say something. If you are concerned about how progress is moving along, say something. Your contractor will either provide you with a thorough answer as to why a project looks the way it does, or you will find out that there was a miscommunication at some point, and they didn’t fully understand what you wanted.
A common question that homeowners do not think to ask is related to permits. They just assume their contractor knows what permits are required and will obtain the right ones. Do not make assumptions about this. As the homeowner, you are responsible for ensuring all remodeling is completed lawfully.
Make sure your remodel goes smoothly
If you are considering a home remodeling project, come in and browse the showrooms at Kitchen and Bath Center and talk to our expert project managers. We work with numerous contractors and installers throughout the area, as well as leading manufacturers for countertops, cabinetry, flooring, and hardware. Our team can help you through the research and preliminary budgeting phases to get your kitchen or bathroom remodel project started off right.DREAM IT. DESIGN IT. LIVE IT. | Kitchen & Bath Center