March 25

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Are You Making These 5 Renovation Mistakes?

Starting a new renovation project is both exciting and a bit scary. Renovations pose some unique challenges that you just don’t see in new builds. This means that there are a lot of ways you can make mistakes when you’re renovating.

It’s okay though! 

Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to learn from others’ mistakes. 

When it comes to renovations, homeowners there are five things many homeowners do that they really shouldn’t. Today we’re sharing what they are and how you can avoid them. 

#1 Underestimating The Cost 

A small budget isn’t a bad thing - it’s also possible to do renovations on a small budget! As long as you’ve factored in everything that needs to be factored when you’re making your budget.

And stick to it.

Which, unfortunately, few homeowners do. That’s why this is the number one mistake. It seems like everyone makes it, no matter how many articles advise you to budget for everything!

Here’s what you should do to make sure you don’t fall into this trap:

  • Remember to include your interiors in your budget: Furniture, fixtures, finishes
  • Add a 20 percent emergency fund: This will give you the cushion you need to cover any unexpected costs (and there will be unexpected costs)
  • Don’t skimp on quality: Getting good materials now means your renos will last

  • Follow your budget: Sure, you can splurge on a fancy stylish sink, but that will leave you short when it comes time to buy the counter tops!

#2 Getting Too Into DIY 

DIY projects are fun! Working with your hands and learning a new skill gives that sense of accomplishment that’s hard to find anywhere else. 

Thing is, you really shouldn’t DIY your renovations.

Sure, it might feel like the cheaper option. You’re free labour after all! But getting a professional to come in and fix your mistakes is often more expensive in the end. 

There’s a reason why the home construction business is filled with professionals and experts. Because they’re necessary. A home’s wiring, plumping, flooring, drywall and well, everything, determines how safe it is. Professionals can make sure everything is up to code.

So hire a professional for each step of the renovation, starting with the architect (or interior designer) for the layout design, all the way to the painter to add colour to the walls.

Okay, okay, painting can be a DIY-able task. 

diy mistakes

#3 Hiring The Wrong Contractor 

It’s time to talk about the third biggest mistake homeowners make: hiring the wrong professional for the job. This can mean anything from hiring a commercial spaces designer for your residential job, to grabbing the cheapest contractor without first checking their references! 

It can even mean hiring someone you don’t get along with, thus making the entire renovation an absolute nightmare for you AND the contractor.

How can you avoid this? Follow these tips:

  • Request quotes from at least three different contractors/companies (if not more).
  • Ask each contractor the difference in price if they complete the whole job or if you manage it
  • Ask for references from previous clients 
  • Check the contractors’ references. This step is important!
  • Consider the following about each contractor: 
  1. Years of experience
  2. Contractors license
  3. Payment schedule
These tips and more can be found in our Ultimate Home Renovation Guide.

#4 Foregoing The Timeline Or Schedule Set Up

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail"

Benjamin Franklin

That’s the truth when it comes to renovations! 

Schedules and timelines are your renovation maps. They help you, and every person working on your project, see what’s happened, what’s on the go, and what’s coming down the pipeline. A good schedule, a good plan, keeps the whole project moving forward the whole time. 

Yet, a lot of people don’t bother making them.

This causes renovations to drag on for weeks or months longer than anyone would like. Maybe your materials don’t arrive in time, or your need to have X fixed before the contractors can start working on Y. But the X repairman isn’t available for another four weeks. 

You could have planned this out prior to renovations starting and booked repairman X in time!

That being said, of course not everything is going to go as planned! “No plan survives the first encounter with the enemy” is another quote to remember. In renovations, this just means you need to be ready to adjust your timeline or move the project order around. 

Plan everything and create a schedule before the project starts. 

Then be flexible while it’s in progress. 

planning a home renovation timeline

#5 Breaking The Rules (Unintentionally)

Breaking the rules may feel like a fun, rebellious thing to do, but when it comes to renovations, you really don’t want to do that. 

There are some considerably hefty fines and fees doled out to those who don’t follow the rules, regulations and permissions guidelines. So, breaking the rules could mean going over your budget!

While you’re designing and putting your vision on paper, you should research the following.

  • Planning permission
  • Building Regulations
  • The Party Wall Act
  • Deeds for restrictive covenants, leases or other overriding interests in the land
  • Listed building consent

You can also talk to these people to get a sense of what’s needed:

  • Solicitor: will tell you if your title deeds have any additional restrictions
  • Planning officer: can tell you if you need permissions, building regulations approval or listed building consent
  • Neighbours who recently renovated: can share their experiences with you.

Don’t break the rules. Know what permissions you need before you start any work.

There you have it. The five biggest mistakes homeowners make when they’re renovating. Plus how you can avoid them! 

Are you planning a renovation soon? Want a way to “see” your design before you even start planning? There’s an app for that! In fact, we’ve gone over five in our article “App article title and link here”.


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