The hundreds of decisions and choices and the numerous tasks involved in any remodeling project leave ample opportunity for any homeowner to make a few mistakes. In fact, it is probably safe to say that every remodel involves a few mistakes. Some mistakes are costly, some are easily fixed. But there is truth is the old adage that “forewarned is forearmed.” To that end, here are ten very common remodeling mistakes that you can avoid.
1.       Failure to have a thorough inspection very early in the planning process. The remodeling area should be inspected for harmful gasses or substances, mold, mildew and fungus, water damage, pests, foundation cracks, cracks in seams, outdated plumbing and electrical work and substandard construction.
Related Articles You Might Want to Read Contractor Selection Workbook2.       Failure to understand and calculate all costs. A surprising number of homeowners come to the end of a remodeling project only to be shocked by the actual cost of the work. This results from failure to anticipate costs, failure to monitor cost increases and overruns, making too many upgrades, and ignorance of hidden costs.
3.       Failure to do due diligence before hiring a contractor.You should do a thorough background check on any contractor you consider hiring. In addition you should investigate the contractor’s professional history and reputation, insurance and licensing.
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4.       Failure to understand all laws, regulations and other limitations on remodeling and construction before starting the remodeling design. You need to investigate any zoning laws that might affect your project, as well as state and local building code specifications. These will relate to construction standards, requirements for work to be done by professionals, easements, setbacks and other restrictions. If you live in a subdivision or neighborhood, you need to check for regulations established by the subdivision management or the homeowners’ association. If you live in a historic home, you also need to work with the local historical society.
5.       Failure to know the retail price of all materials and shop for bargains. If you do not know the retail price of the materials needed for your remodel, you are at great risk of paying too much for your project. Whether you shop for bargains or you ask your contractor to do so, it will probably be possible to save on materials costs through smart shopping. At the very least, knowing the retail price of materials enables you to know someone is trying to take advantage of you.
6.       Failure to shop around for financing. You can save a surprising amount of money by shopping around for terms and types of financing for your home remodeling or addition project. Especially during times of economic change, you need to carefully compare interest rates, repayment terms and the terms on your savings. If your savings is invested at a high interest rate, you might save money by borrowing instead of taking money out of your account. You also need to investigate and understand the various kinds of financing that are available.
7.       Failure to attend to safety issues and assume your contractor will handle everything. You will need to ensure the appropriate steps are taken to protect your home, your family, your pets, and even landscaping. Removing valuables from the property and planning to keep children and pets away from the construction area are your responsibility. You should also check with your insurance agent to be sure you have adequate coverage during the remodel and after.
8.       Failure to use all available space efficiently before enlarging or moving. All too often, homeowners discover after completing a costly remodel or addition that they now have more space than they need. The reason is that they were not using the space they had as efficiently as possible. Before you start drawing or swinging a sledge hammer, take a careful look at the space you have and consider how it might be used more efficiently. Would storage units for cabinets, closets and drawers help you maximize the space you have? Would this allow you build a smaller addition, or no addition?
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9.       Failure to make a considered remodel-or-move decision before remodeling. Sometimes a remodel or home addition is the right solution to your need for more space. Sometimes, however, no matter how much you remodel, the home just will not work for your family. In these cases, you would have been better off to have moved. Take the time to think about what is best for your family, and consult a helpful resource like Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision.
10.    Over-improving. Whether it is a year from now or twenty years from now, you will eventually want to sell your home. If you remodel and add features and improvements that make your home the biggest and fanciest in the neighborhood or you do so much too it that it looks out of place, or it will cost so much more than other houses around it that no one is willing to pay the price, you have over-improved. 
Whether you are remodeling, building an addition to your home or updating, be careful to avoid these ten common remodeling mistakes. You will feel better about your project and your investment.
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