We’ve all seen the home improvement shows that make renovations look simple, straightforward, quick, and fun. But in reality, the process is more elaborate than viewers ever see, and unfortunately it’s not always all roses…especially if you don’t expect certain realities going in. Today, I’m sharing the 5 most common renovation mistakes homeowners make, along with what you can do to avoid them outright. With realistic expectations and smart preparation, I’m confident you’ll be well on your way to a home you love!
Mistake 1: Demolition Without a Plan
Resist the sledgehammer! Demo’ing without a plan can result in costly mistakes, like taking down walls unnecessarily or removing important structural support beams. Not to mention the additional costs that rack up when correcting those mistakes later.
Additionally, if you demo before new materials arrive, you may end up with an unusable home for a period of time… potentially longer than you imagined. With current delays and backlogs, some products are taking months to come in.
You can avoid these mistakes by planning well from the start. Consult professionals for every aspect of your project (read here to see which experts your project needs), order materials in advance, and only demo when everything and everyone is truly ready to go.
Mistake 2: Unrealistic Timelines
Good things take time. I know HGTV makes it look like you can whip up a new home in a few weekends, but if only that were true! In reality, large renovation projects take much longer – ours currently average 8+ months from start to finish. In addition, professionals are often booked out many months in advance, and you’ll need a good deal of patience when waiting for materials and furnishings to arrive, too.
All of the above are difficult to control, but you can still plan for a smooth, efficient process by assembling your team as early as possible. Together, plan out a clear timeline from the beginning, create the design in advance, and order items as soon as possible. Then, as the project gets underway, assume that things will always take longer than planned… so you’ll be pleasantly surprised if they don’t!
Mistake 3: Uncertainty Around the Investment
Renovations tend to cost more than people think, and underestimating your investment can lead to stress. To give you some context, a professionally designed kitchen renovation can run around $100k (appliances alone being $40k.)
To minimize financial stress and ensure a completed project, it’s important to get realistic numbers — and all decision-makers on board — before starting. Review proposals in detail with your designer and builder, and ask questions. Then, make sure your financials are in order and accessible to avoid delays down the road. Do this, and you’re sure to see success!
As an alternative, if the overall investment exceeds your expectations, you do have several options: consider waiting until the timing is better so you can get exactly what you want, ask your design team about splitting the project into longer phases (though not always ideal), or work with your designer to value-engineer certain aspects of the design to meet your budget. Though this may mean losing some of your favorite features (like custom millwork, marble, or high-end appliances), there are usually always alternatives.
Mistake 4: Not Planning for Furnishings
In my professional opinion, if you are just going to move all your old furnishings back into the home, you haven’t done the renovation justice. Renovating is about getting a space that looks, feels, and functions better for your lifestyle, and furnishings play a large role in that.
What should you do? Work with a designer, plan in advance, and include furnishings in your budget!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… When we design the space plan for the room, we map out where all furnishings and elements will go: a sofa for the whole family, extra chairs for entertaining, electrical outlets where you need them – you name it! We ensure the new flow is functional, fits all your desired furniture (and investment), and above all, supports your vibrant lifestyle.
Mistake 5: Expecting No Bumps in the Road
Based on our many years in the industry, we can almost guarantee that there will be something out of your/our control in any home project. A few examples? Product delays or items that become out of stock. Hurdles that come up when renovating a historic home. And who can really say what’s behind the walls we’re going to knock down on demo day?
The solution for this problem is two-fold. First, set a positive mindset before the project begins to expect the unexpected! Second, during your hiring process, be sure to select experienced professionals you trust. With a good attitude and a team that has your back, you’ll be able to navigate any bumps in the road with the cool demeanor needed to make quick, smart decisions that keep your project (and heart rate) on track.
It’s Never Too Early to Prepare
The secret’s out — whether it’s for your space plan, timeline, investment, or your own happiness, planning well is the #1 indicator of a successful renovation. And now that you’ve read through all 5 of these common renovation mistakes, you’re halfway there!
If we’re on your list of potential team members, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to us here to share more about your project and see if we’re the right fit.