Home improvement: how can an idea so right, go so wrong? We have all heard horror stories of construction projects gone awry. Luckily for us, we have their mistakes to learn from. Here are some ways homeowners can get themselves in trouble, ways that you won’t.
Starting a project without the money to finish it- Remember, construction projects ALMOST ALWAYS go over budget. A home owner who accepts a bid because they have just enough saved up to pay for the job is buying a losing lottery ticket. Material costs change, hidden structural issues crop up, extra fees seem to come out of nowhere, and if you, the owner do not have the money to cover it, you will have an unhappy contractor and an unfinished project. I wouldn’t call that home improvement.
Hiring the wrong contractor- Choosing between contractors is the point in a project where the homeowner holds all the cards, it’s okay to dream big. Homeowners should expect a contractor with the right price point, good communication, proper licenses, and a quick turnaround time. Figure out your needs and find the person who will meet them, once you have made a decision the momentum makes it much harder to turn back. This one of seven mistakes homeowners make during a home improvement that homeowner make all the time.
Disengaging once Construction Begins- A home improvement project should be a manifestation of the homeowner’s vision, not their contractor’s. Two reasonable people looking at words written on a piece of paper can have a very different idea of what something will look like once it becomes three dimensional. Make sure to monitor progress and if you don’t like the way things are going, speak up.
Not consulting your wife- The Green Bay Packers are not coming over to BBQ. They aren’t coming over to practice, or watch the game on TV. They do not care if the whole house is slathered green and yellow with cute little football shaped handles on the kitchen cabinets. But your family just might. Safe yourself the drama, and make sure your idea of a “home improvement” is shared by the whole team.
Sacrificing Quality for Savings- This mistake and the next one happen when house owners forget that they are home owners. Going for savings can cost you on many levels. Hiring a contractor who bids low can lead to huge cost overruns or even having to take someone to court to cover the cost of fixing faulty work. Choosing materials and appliances that are cheaper in the short run can cost money in the long run when they wear out. And finally, a homeowner’s sense of pride is one of his/her most valuable assets. Making your home a place you love to be and that you are proud to show off, is worth every penny of added expense.
Overemphasizing Resale Value- Very few home improvements will, on their own, pay for themselves when you resell the house. When you undertake a home improvement project, don’t do it to make a buck. Instead think of the value that having the home of your dreams will provide, and multiply that across all the years of enjoyment you have to look forward to.
Getting in over your head on a DIY- Whenever I begin a home improvement project, images of Tom Hanks laughing maniacally, driven mad by the demands of home repair, in the movie “The Money Pit” dance through my head. Small projects are one thing, but home improvements that deal with the structural integrity of the home or electrical projects that can put your safety at risk, are better left to local home improvement contractors that have the qualifications to help you complete the project with out all the mistakes.