8 top home renovation planning mistakes to avoid
By Laura Firszt, Networx
Folk wisdom says that remodeling your home is hell while it’s in progress and heaven when it’s done. To make sure you end up with that heavenly feeling at your project’s completion, plan ahead carefully and avoid these eight common home remodel planning mistakes.
1. Neglecting to do your homework. Another useful saying here is: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Do your research, discuss your ideas with your partner and other family members, and be sure of what you want and why you want it before you hire a contractor. If you need help, consult a designer. Looking for home fashion inspiration online or in glossy design magazines is free (if you borrow those mags from the library!) and fun.
2. Hyper focusing on one area of your home. Try to see your home as a whole, making sure that your remodeling job will result in a cohesive style for the entire home. Avoid over-focus on one room such as the kitchen, while the others are ignored. Keep a consistent scale; for example, don’t stuff a king sized bed into a mini master bedroom.
3. Prioritizing fun, rather than functional, renos. Sure, a gorgeously revamped kitchen or convenient built-in storage is exciting, but you won’t enjoy the finished result as much if your roof is still letting in the rain or your master bedroom windows are still too small to let in the sun. Set aside part of your budget for boring but necessary fixes. Looking at it another way, you wouldn’t spend all your grocery money on dessert, would you?
4. Ignoring traffic patterns. Make your doors and hallways wide and high enough to avoid congestion and stooping. Moving a bathroom or two? Put them where people can get to them quickly.
5. Limiting your vision. Today’s trend is tomorrow’s avocado refrigerator (or next year’s subway tile?). Choose timeless styles that won’t “date stamp” your home. Bear in mind your young family may grow in both numbers and physical size – and gangly teenagers need taller doorways and bigger bedrooms than two-year-olds do. If you are planning to stay in your home for many years to come, viable “aging in place” may mean hallways that are wide enough for a wheelchair and showers rather than hard-to-get-into bathtubs.
6. Letting your light shine a little too strong. In today’s uncertain economy, you never know when you might have to try to sell. Should you end up putting your house on the market, you’ll have a better chance of making a sale if your property has a pleasantly natural vibe to it. Buyers prefer homes they can see themselves settling into comfortably with a minimum of work. That just won’t be possible, though, in a place where the eccentric owner (yes, you!) has installed floor to ceiling metallic tile or replaced the laundry room with a wet bar. If you absolutely must express your inner artist, do it with paint or another inexpensive fix ... and be prepared to undo it in order to sell.
7. Ignoring the color green. Using high quality, non-toxic materials and energy-efficient updates in your remodel is likely to cost more upfront. However, you’ll save money in the long run. Your utility bills will drop and you’ll have to replace items less frequently. Not to mention, going green adds to your home’s resale value.
8. Failing to budget realistically. Speaking of ignoring the color green, you MUST do the following before you even pick up a paint sample … A) Make a budget. B) Make sure that all the funds you’ve budgeted are available to you in liquid form (don’t assume, for example, that your financial institution will be thrilled to beef up your mortgage so that you can add a home golf course). C) Allow a healthy margin for cost overruns and extra expenses such as alternative accommodation for you and your household while the work is being done.