Nearly every home renovation will encounter a speed bump or two along the way. But the right preparation beforehand can make all the difference. Here’s a look at the top 5 remodeling mistakes to avoid before construction gets underway in order to help your project go smoothly.
A home remodel can be a great investment. FStudies show kitchen and master bath remodels can return upwards of 70% of their cost right away. And in today’s hot housing market, it makes more sense than ever to remodel your existing home the way you want it rather than paying above asking for a house you may need to renovate after you move in.
So, how do you help ensure your home remodel runs smoothly? Let’s take a look at 5 common remodeling pitfalls to avoid.
1. Rushing your research
Chances are, the last time you bought a TV you likely did some research. The same goes for any major purchase, and especially a home remodel. When starting your search for a remodeling partner, the best place to begin is often by looking at their reviews.
You want to approach this phase of your project seriously. Look at what past clients are saying about firms you look up on Google, Houzz, or Yelp for example. Do they have just one or two reviews or are there several? Not all of them have to be 5 stars, but the vast majority of them should be at least 4 and above. And don’t forget to read the comments to see what areas they’re strong in, and maybe those they aren’t.
OREGON CCB WEBSITE
In Oregon where we’re located, you can also check out the Oregon Construction Contractors Board website. There you can look up their CCB license number and find out if any complaints have been issued against them. The site will also list any other business names the contractor may have operated under. If you see several listed, it could indicate a pattern of simply changing business names in order to cover up past issues. The CCB website will also include incidents where a firm’s license was pulled due to lack of insurance.
2. Failing to budget properly
This can be a major pitfall if not addressed at the outset. And this issue is two-fold. First, you want to make sure you have a realistic budget going in to your project. For instance, don’t expect to do a full kitchen remodel for $50,000. Make sure you research what your type of remodel may cost in your area and for your type of home.
Second, as you’re researching construction partners, determine if they have a clear and detailed budgeting process. And make sure they have a lot of experience with the type of remodel you’re looking to do so they can budget properly. Then ask for them to walk you through a sample project budget of theirs. They should be able to articulate how they came up with their costs and how they keep clients informed of any cost changes along the way. Failing to take these precautions could result in some unpleasant budget surprises down the line.
3. Opting for the lowest bid
A lot of construction firms will tell you what you want to hear when you’re interviewing them. That won’t do you a lot of good after construction gets underway and costs start to balloon. A lowball estimate could mean that the contractor doesn’t have a lot of experience working on your type of remodel — they may specialize in kitchens whereas you’re looking to do a master bathroom. It could also mean they may be looking to cut corners. Or maybe they simply don’t have skilled craftspeople to do the work. None of these scenarios will help you save money in the end. Ultimately, you’ll likely need to pay more to fix or complete issues that weren’t done properly — or at all. As they saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you do the right homework in step 2 above, you should be able to avoid issues around lowball bids.
4. Trying to compress the timelines
Home remodel projects have a lot of moving parts, even small jobs. One of the quickest ways to have something fall through the cracks is by trying to rush it. Most major kitchen and master suite remodels will usually take 8-12 weeks, some longer depending on the complexity. This time is necessary for you and your builder to finalize designs and make product selections, and for the construction team to have all the necessary materials in place when they need them.
Trying to compress the timeline to save a week or two could disrupt one part of the project and threaten the success of other parts down the line. At Lamont Bros. we have very transparent project plans so clients know what is going to be completed when. Plus, we do almost all of the work in-house so we can save some time by not having to use teams of subcontractors. But we also make sure we plan enough time to do the work correctly and to our clients’ satisfaction.
5. Communication breakdowns
It’s critical to have great communication with your builder in order for your project to run smoothly. This is something you can also gauge at the outset as you’re researching firms. You can think of the interview as the dating phase of your project. Everyone should be on their best behavior. That means they should be very communicative with you and quick to respond to your questions. If you find that they’re taking a while to get back to you or simply ignore you for long stretches, or if you feel like they haven’t listened to your project goals, it may be time to move on.
If the interview goes well, ask them about their communication processes while the work is underway. How are project changes or delays communicated? How do you know who will be at your home working on a given day? What if there’s a potential cost change? Or who do you contact if you simply have a question or two? If your potential remodeling partner can address these issues to your satisfaction, chances are your renovation will run more smoothly.
Are you thinking about a home remodel and aren’t sure where to start? We’d love to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with us!