Updating Your Home? Watch Out For These Renovation Pitfalls

Updating Your Home? Watch Out For These Renovation MistakesUpdating your home yourself certainly has its appeal, however, if you embark on updating your home yourselves, there are several common mistakes new homeowners make that you will need to watch out for.

Starting Before You Understand The Home

For new owners of older homes, it can be tempting to begin renovating and updating as soon as you have the keys to the front door. However, waiting a little time to get a better understanding of the house before you jump in to change things will help you develop a better overall plan.

Many issues are not immediately apparent when you view the property, for example sunlight flooding a room at certain times of day, making it hard to see the tv or making it uncomfortably hot later in the day. If you purchase the home in the winter months, you may not know ahead of time how stormwater is channeled away from the home and how effective the drainage is. Aside from the unknowns, living in the home for a while before you make changes will allow you to see you actually use the home compared to how you anticipated living in it.. Decisions about storage and shelf space, converting the guest room to an office, adding a bathroom, etc. will be better informed after you have been living in the home a while.

Sarasota Remodel

Being Unrealistic About Costs

Without the experience of a professional, DIY homeowners often underestimate the true cost of updating and remodeling. It is not uncommon for both unexpected issues and unexpected costs to occur. We recommend DIY homeowners estimate the cost as accurately as possible then add another 20% as a buffer. If that pushes the total amount beyond the budget you are comfortable with, you may want to cut back on the scope of the project.

Not Expecting The Unexpected

With new construction, you work from a professionally drawn set of plans that all subcontractors, vendors and craftsmen are able to follow. Older homes often do not have an up to date set of plans, and homeowners sometimes discover that previous owners have employed “creative” techniques and shortcuts to fix repairs or carry out renovations, or perhaps used substandard materials in structural areas, or ignored building codes, etc. . A professional builder will be used to encountering unexpected problems during a renovation, but DIY homeowners may be caught off-guard and not have budgeted for the unexpected.

Designing The Remodel Yourself

If you're doing more than cosmetic updates, the cost and scope of the project will be substantial - and permanent. We highly recommend hiring a professional designer to ensure the enhancements will be a long-term asset for the home. An interior designer will work with you to realize your vision without making costly mistakes, and they typically either charge by the hour or a percentage of the project cost.

Accepting The Lowest Bid

It may seem like the smart move to hire the contractor that presents the lowest bid, however, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Be wary of vendors who bid jobs noticeably cheaper than the others, especially if they are immediately available. In general, quality contractors maintain a busy production schedule so, while it is frustrating to get in line, it should be worth the wait. Conversely, a professional builder will help you weed out the overpriced bids. They do this day in day out, and know how much each job should realistically cost.

Hiring A Contractor You Do Not Gel With

Even if your professional interior designer comes highly recommended, your personal style may clash with their vision for your project. Be sure to engage with any potential designer, builder and architect at length. They should be asking lots of questions about what you like and what your vision is - if you find yourself frequently clashing or not being listened to, find yourself another contractor. At the end of the day it’s your home and you should be 100% happy with the new design.

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Forgetting To Get References For Vendors

With an investment of this scale, you want to be sure that the team you hire is going to perform. Once you have entered into the contract, it will be too late to discover that they frequently have trouble with jobs or have a hard time finishing in a timely fashion. Before signing anyone up, be sure to ask for the last three clients of the vendor or for professional references. It is useful to drop by a jobsite to take a look around and make sure it looks tidy and well-managed.

Failing To Consult A Builder At The Conceptual Stage

Once you assemble your team of experts, and, even more importantly, if you are acting as general contractor for your own renovation, keep asking questions until you are sure you understand each and every stage of the project. Not everyone can read an architectural plan. If you do not understand the plans be sure to ask questions until you do!

Smiling & Nodding (Not asking Questions When You Do Not Understand)

Once you assemble your team of experts, and, even more importantly, if you are acting as general contractor for your own renovation, keep asking questions until you are sure you understand each and every stage of the project. Not everyone can read an architectural plan. If you do not understand the plans be sure to ask questions until you do!

Sarasota Remodel

Making Too Many Revisions

Plan as carefully in the beginning as possible. Once the project is in motion each change, even a simple one like moving a light switch, which could affect the drywallers, framers, electricians, and painters, adds time and money to the project. By planning as thoroughly as you can at the beginning of the process, you can limit the time and cost of modifications along the way.

Not Scheduling Your Time For The Vendors

As the work gets under way, your contractors will need to order and purchase all the items required for the job. Your choices may include designer lighting fixtures, custom cabinetry hardware, or “special order” stone for countertops. Be sure that you set aside adequate time for making choices and approving selections so that the contractor can work in advance to ensure the products arrive on time and don’t disrupt the build schedule, which, of course, ends up costing you money.

Forgetting About The Exterior

While it’s wonderful to achieve the beautiful interior spaces you’ve always dreamed of, don’t forget about the exterior. Florida has a harsh climate; a long hot and humid season followed by dry warm months of sunshine. . Do not forget to have your exterior paintwork, trim, roof, windows, and exterior doors inspected and, if necessary, updated to reflect the new interior upgrades.

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Underestimating The Disruption And Commitment

Remodeling your home can be an exciting process and it’s often really fun to plan and oversee the transformation. However, it is not without its challenges. Unforeseen issues, unexpected expenses, weather delays, design setbacks, there are a lot of things to contend with. Even if everything goes smoothly, simply having your home in disarray while contractors are tearing down old walls, building ones, installing cabinets, etc… can be increasingly difficult to cope with the longer the construction goes on. It’s definitely worth it in the end, just be prepared to have a few stressful moments along the way!

Choosing Lower Quality To Save Money

Door hardware, plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, floor tiles, etc… vary greatly in quality and price. As projects progress and budgets invariably get stretched thin, it will be tempting to opt for a lower quality item to save on the cost. If at all possible avoid falling into this trap. If you need to compromise on some things, keep in mind that you should not scrimp on high use areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms. You want your investment to stand the test of time.

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Spending More Than You Need

While investing in better finishes for the major surfaces of your home makes sense, spending huge amounts on low use, short life span items does not. This is especially true with decor. It is likely that you will want to periodically update items like wall coverings, rugs, lamps, and soft furnishings, so if your budget is tight, keep an eye on those shorter term costs.

Upgrading The Windows

Windows are an important element of every home and they carry a big price-tag if they need to be replaced. While it’s very tempting to feel that you have to install easy new high-tech energy efficient and impact resistant windows, there are other options that can be far less costly, and you might be able to use some interim measures to delay that investment. Outdated windows can be offset with attractive shutters, or you may choose to apply window film to increase efficiency and keep the elements out.

Failing To Measure Your Space

Whether or not you end up working with an interior designer you are going to need accurate measurements of all your key furnishing items such as the size and heights of tables and couches, bar stools and dining chairs. Failing to take accurate measurements can result in having a couch that’s way too big for the space or a light fixture that people bump their head on while cooking.

Communicating and Managing Time Ineffectively

This is a big one. A remodel project involves many moving parts and it is essential that all the decision makers and stakeholders know what is happening at all times. If you are managing your own project, know that you will need to set aside chunks of your time to communicate efficiently with everyone involved. If your work/family schedule is already stretched, it might make sense to employ a general contractor to coordinate and drive the project.

Sarasota Remodel

Spending A Lot On High-Tech Upgrades

New smart home technology offers a dazzling array of options from phone app controlled security to automated shade control and internal vacuum systems. However, keep in mind that even the newest technology will become obsolete at some point. The cost of these systems can add significantly to a remodel job so select the must-haves from the would-loves in order to respect your budget.

Murray Homes welcomes the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas for your custom renovation or new home build. We are specialists in architectural design, and property and land acquisition; we work with the region’s best architects, landscape and interior design professionals. I look forward to hearing from you!

Steve Murray 941 906 7000. steve@murrayhomesinc.com

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Steve Murray