What starts off as a simple plan for remodeling can potentially turn into disaster. I know someone, let’s just call him my “friend” who managed to spend 10 times more than his original budget on a home improvement job. He was a do-it-yourselfer who considered himself quite handy.
But without proper planning and a lack of experience, he wasn’t prepared for a more time-consuming project. There were also some challenges that popped up that he was never aware of in the first place. For example, he was unaware of local bylaws regarding general construction, and he accidentally broke a few rules.
Okay I’ll admit, this “friend” I am talking about is actually me (you probably already figured that out). I don’t like to admit my mistakes, but I’m perfectly willing to share if it helps you to avoid the same problems. Here are some things to consider if you’re undertaking a new renovation or remodeling job at home.
Separate Projects – one of my biggest mistakes was trying to tackle everything at once. I tried to work on improving my kitchen while finding enhancements for my backyard at the same time. I wanted to blend the two areas more cohesively, but I ended up doing the exact opposite. It’s important to know when you should concentrate on one particular area so you don’t spread yourself thin. Sometimes it’s impossible to work on your upstairs and downstairs at the same time. Segment your project and put all your efforts into one before moving on to the other.
Stick with your Budget – this is a huge mistake that plagues a lot of first-time remodelers. You’d be shocked at how dramatically a budget can rise as the project progresses. There are things you never plan for, and new elements you probably want to add to make things look better. Before you know it, you can amass a huge credit card bill – so be careful!
Obey the law – okay, this time I’m really not talking about myself. I know someone who accidentally cut an old-growth tree in his backyard. He says it was blocking his view, but the city says he now owes big money. If you’re ever planning anything major, make sure to consult local bylaws, and contact an expert contractor if you’re not sure.
Utility Locator Service – there are many elements around and under your home that you’re probably unfamiliar with. And there’s no way a contractor can tell where certain pipelines lie without proper consultation first. It’s your job to contact your utility locator service for information regarding potential work. In other words, you should find out where your electric and gas lines are before unleashing a crew on your home. You don’t want to put yourself in any danger when installing a line for your new natural gas grill.
Take Your Time When Hiring – I’ve had good experiences with contractors, and some very bad ones. With regards to the negative ones, it’s always been because the contractor doesn’t live up to his obligations. Sometimes they get too pushy or other times they drag the job on too long. I’ve gotten better at hiring good people and it’s all about taking my time in doing research beforehand. Remember, this is your money you’re spending so don’t let someone pressure you into hiring them if you’re not comfortable.