As many first-time home remodelers in the Lowell area have learned, renovations are not as easy as all those HGTV shows make them appear! But there’s no reason your home remodeling project shouldn’t be a wild success — so long as you partner with a trusted design-build partner.
If this is your first go around, avoid these all-too-common home remodeling mistakes to ensure you get the best results and your sanity stays intact.
1. Renovating before living in the house
If you’ve just purchased a home needing a bit of TLC or that isn’t to your liking, don’t be too quick to jump into a remodel. It takes some time to get to know a space. Live in your home for at least 2 months and you’ll have a much better idea of what features you need to meet your needs.
2. Not considering long-term needs
Think about how you want your home to fit your needs not just today, but 5, 10, or even 20 years down the road. Taking this big picture approach to your remodel may inspire new ideas and help you make informed, careful decisions throughout the project.
3. Having unrealistic expectations
Even in the best circumstances, remodeling will likely be a little messy and noisy — it’s just the nature of renovations! Working with a good design-build company will make the process efficient and much less of an inconvenience. However, you should still consider your own personal schedule and when the best time of the year will be for you and your family to have work done on your home.
4. Choosing the lowest bid
When you’re evaluating design-build firms, the cheapest bid will seem pretty appealing because, well, it’s the cheapest! But If a bid is drastically lower than the ones you’ve received elsewhere, keep in mind that the contractor might be…
Keeping costs hidden until later on in the project.
Unskilled in accurately estimating or budgeting a project.
Planning to cut corners to save money.
Unskilled. Cheap cost doesn’t always equal cheap work …but it can. Do your research and know who you’re hiring.
5. Not asking for references before hiring a design-build company
Choosing who you work with is a big decision. Leaving it up to chance is a big home renovation mistake. Make sure the company has a track record of success. Research to find online reviews, references, and the company’s portfolio of remodeling work.
6. Hiring separate designers and building contractors
Hiring an architect to design your home remodel and later finding a contractor to implement the designs can lead to a lot of back and forth. It also results in an inability to execute the designs. Don’t take this approach to your remodel. A design-build company takes on your project as a whole. One team in charge of the entire process from start to finish ensures the best results.
7. Choosing a contractor without a warranty
A remodel is an investment, but it’s also an expense. A reputable company will offer a warranty on their work to help you feel comfortable about your decision to budget for this project.
8. Hiring a design-build company without experience
Especially with home remodeling, the more experience, the better the results.
9. Hiring a national firm
Big name contractors lack the attentive and personalized service of a local design-build firm.. Look for a local firm with a lot of experience and who incorporates perks of working with a larger firm. For example, offering a warranty and a client portal.
10. Underestimating costs
One of the biggest renovation mistakes we see (particularly with DIY renovations) is not budgeting enough. Even with your own research, there will undoubtedly be other costs involved that you’ll have no way of knowing about as a first time remodeler.
Don’t get caught in a financial bind. First, think about your set aside target budget range, the amount you would like to invest in your project. Then talk to a professional to determine if what you’re hoping to achieve is possible within your budget. Never start on a project until you know how much it will cost.
11. Not creating a detailed timeline
You want to avoid long, drawn-out projects that extend longer than you budgeted for. A design-build firm will establish initial timelines for your project. You should expect this detailed timeline from your contractor before any construction begins.
12. Expecting things to go exactly as planned
Set yourself up for success (and less stress) by taking on a flexible mindset during this project. No matter how well you plan, there are likely to be one or two hang ups or stumbling blocks along the way. When you’re working with a trusted company, these little roadblocks will be easily navigated without a problem.
13. Not asking questions
It is well within your right to have all your questions answered throughout a project. Additionally, asking lots of questions will help you avoid any miscommunication between you and your project team. Your design-build firm should also provide an easy way for you to check in and get quick updates throughout your home remodel.
14. Working without a permit
Always make sure you determine what kind of permit is needed for your specific project. When you work with a design-build company, they will obtain any necessary building permits before starting construction.
15. Making too many changes during the process
Working closely with your contractor to iron out all the details before starting construction is the best way to limit the number of changes down the road. Even so, something may come up during construction that you want to change. Just keep in mind that changes can slow the project and affect your budget.
16. Going for low-cost over quality
As you’re choosing materials, don’t automatically opt for the cheapest option. Do your research to know what you need to spend. A good rule of thumb is to spend good money on things you touch every day. Your design-build team will know where you can afford to choose a lower-cost option and where you should plan to spend more.
17. Skimping on sustainability
As much as 50% of a typical construction cost is waste — whether that’s wasted material, poor planning, rework, or transportation of materials and documents. Working with a design-build company that offers a streamlined process and a focus on sustainable remodeling will help reduce these costs, passing on these savings to you.
Get started on the right foot
So many of these all-too-common home renovation mistakes can be minimized (and even completely avoided) by working with the right partner. Our team would love the chance to learn more about what you’re hoping to achieve and find out if we’re a good fit for working together.
At Wagner Development, our proven and innovative design-build approach is focused on eliminating inefficiencies, providing you with a more successful experience. We’re proud to offer top-quality results without the waste and budget overruns common among other Lowell home remodelers.