When you invest a lot of time and money in something, you want it to succeed. To ensure your home renovation goes ahead without a hitch, check out our list of the top renovation mistakes to avoid.
There’s no sugar-coating it: home renovations are stressful. They’re noisy, messy, and chaotic, and unexpected challenges always arise. Aside from that, you must also stay on top of work obligations and manage your personal life.
However, when your revamp is done (and done well), it can be one of the most rewarding and valuable investments you can make. To help you navigate this turbulent time, here is what NOT to do during your home renovation project.
1. Start a project without a building permit
Before you can make structural changes to your home, you need to check if your project requires any permits. This will depend on where you live, the type of building (house, condo or townhouse), and local zoning regulations. Contact your city immediately and discuss the nature of the changes you’d like to make. Failure to do so could cost you a lot of time and money down the road as you might be expected to pay a fine or start over.
Espace Proprio Tip The Quebec Building Board gives a detailed explanation of the types of projects that require permits and licenced contractors.
2. Rush your choice of contractor
Your dream kitchen or bathroom is about to become a reality… but can you trust the contractor responsible for bringing it to life? You want someone who is professional, reputable and experienced, so take your time reviewing each candidate. If you don’t, you might end up having to pay thousands to another company to repair the damage.
A few months before your refurbishment begins, meet with as many service providers as you can (at least three to five) and ask them questions about their work process, past projects, team, and timelines. Also check that they are suitably licensed and insured. Explain what you hope to achieve and ensure they understand your needs.
One of EspaceProprio’s business units, RenoAssistance, can put you in touch with a dedicated renovation advisor and three contractors that have met a 53-point verification system. This will save you plenty of time and effort!
EspaceProprio Tip Don’t be afraid to request a few references and call the contractors’ past clients to verify the information. Get quotes from your top three candidates with details on permit costs, insurance, general contractor fees, and warranties. If something doesn’t quite add up, trust your gut, and move on to the next person.
3. Give yourself too little time for the project
Respect the scale of the task ahead of you and give yourself time to research, plan and complete each phase properly. You don’t want to renovate your home for the next three years, but take care not to rush the job, either. Generally, three to six months is a fair window for a large project, so you can address any unexpected challenges with a clear head.
4. Attempt a DIY
Depending on which part of your house is being renovated (and your skill set), it’s entirely possible to do some of the work yourself. You can find how-to videos on YouTube on almost any subject these days, including replacing toilets, installing shelving and painting. However, if your renovation involves plumbing, electrical work or making structural changes to your home, it is much safer to hire a qualified professional to manage it.
5. Set an unrealistic budget
When you start your project with your chosen contractor, you should have an estimate of how much it will cost to do the work and buy the materials. Add (at least) an extra 20% to that number because renovations usually take longer and fetch more than you think. Giving yourself a financial cushion and leaving room for error covers those surprising expenses that inevitably crop up later.
6. Be shortsighted
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of remodeling your house—you can finally create your own Pinterest-worthy kitchen or bathroom. It may be tempting to include some of the latest home décor trends while you’re at it but take care not to be too fashionable.
Trends change, and you don’t want to spend a fortune on ideas that might be outdated in five to 10 years. Stick to timeless choices that will have broad appeal because when the time comes to sell your home, you’ll be much more likely to get your asking price.
7. Ignore functionality
Think of your family’s habits and lifestyle. How do you wish to use the space that’s being renovated? Again, it’s tempting to opt for a stylish design with the wow factor, but will it be practical on a daily basis? A beautiful room is pointless if you can’t utilize it for its primary purpose.
If you’re upgrading the kitchen, remember the triangle between the fridge, stove and sink. Traffic patterns and flow are essential elements to consider for a successful room design. Do some research, speak to your contractor, and choose a sensible solution that will optimize use of the area.
8. Disregard the plan
Before work begins on your home, there should be a written plan which includes details on the timeline, budget, materials, scope, and choice of finishes. Sticking to this is the best way to avoid driving up your costs. There will always be unexpected challenges and you may need to make some adjustments along the way, but don’t fret. You’ll prevent a situation where the upgrades become unaffordable as long as you don’t make too many unscheduled changes.
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