by Dorothy Carter January 06, 2022 5 min read

A woman painting a wall, representing the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling their homes

Home remodeling projects are demanding, risky, and time-consuming. Not to mention expensive. Whether you're embarking on this remodeling journey to improve your living space or add value for the upcoming sale, you have to be careful. Unfortunately, so many things can go south with house renovation that can cost you time, money, and sanity. Therefore, you'll have to properly prepare for this project if you want it to succeed. Lucky for you, we're here to show you everything you should avoid before and during your home renovation. So, let's talk about the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling their homes!

Going into this project without a plan

House plans and tools on the table

It's vital to start this home remodeling project with the end goal in mind. The home renovation consists of many individual tasks, each flowing right into the next one. Therefore, you need to make a thorough plan for every step of this remodeling journey if you want it to succeed. Think budget, storage for your belongings, timeline, design style, significant structural changes, permits, licenses, etc.

Additionally, you'll have to consider creating a plan B if something doesn't go according to the original plan. You also have to plan for unpleasant surprises. Whether you like it or not, you'll probably spend more time and money on this home renovation than you'd like to. So, make sure you plan for some wiggle room as well. All things considered, you'll need to prepare for the remodeling project a few months in advance, especially if you're about to remodel your home after moving or you're renovating to sell.

Making a detailed plan before home renovation will help you achieve your end goal.

Not adding a cushion to your budget

We have mentioned that you also need to think about potential surprises while making a renovation plan. It mainly implies the unpleasant surprises money-wise. Home remodeling projects are unpredictable, so you can never know what additional costs await you. The only thing you can be sure about is you'll have these extra costs.

Therefore, you cannot go into the home renovation process with a strict budget. You need to be flexible about it and have a few more bucks in your savings account. This is definitely one of the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling their homes. So, make sure you're not one of them. 

Avoiding inspection

Before you begin the remodeling process, take advantage of the chance to schedule every type of inspection available for your property. Consider scheduling electrical, plumbing, structural, termite, HVAC, roofing inspection. Inspections aren't free, and they add to the renovation project's overall cost. However, take a look at the bright side. By giving yourself an aerial image of the time, energy, and finances you'll need to pour into a property, you can make an educated decision about what you can afford or whether you even want to take on the remodeling in the first place. Over the next few years, this approach might save you time and thousands of dollars in remodeling expenditures.

Hiring the first contractor you interview

Contractor and client discussing home remodeling plans

Home remodeling is a serious and challenging process, to put it mildly. So, one of the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling their homes is hiring the first contractor (and the rest of the renovation crew) they come across. You need to make sure you're working with an experienced team of contractors, roofers, and electricians that are experts in their field. Therefore, get at least three estimates from different crews. Additionally, make sure you check out their previous work to determine if they are suitable for the work you're seeking. Get some references as well. Here are some of the most important questions you should ask your contractors before hiring them:

  • Is your company certified, registered, and insured?
  • Do you have any experience with projects similar to what I'm planning?
  • How long has the company been in operation?

You have to make sure you've hired the right crew for your project. Otherwise, things can go south very quickly.

You can't have a successful home renovation project without a professional contractor and crew.

Turning this into a DIY project

Since we're speaking about the proper way to do this home remodeling project, you can make another mistake and turn it into a DIY project. Yes, hiring the remodeling crew can cost you a few more bucks. However, having professionals handle your house renovation will save you money. They know how to handle every problem that can occur along the way, and they certainly know where they can cut corners and save you some money.

On the other hand, if you think you can do all this yourself, you're probably fooling yourself. You'll face some problems that you won't know how to overcome, and you'll make the renovation situation even worse. In the end, you'll end up spending more money on fixing the problems you've created than on remodeling your home. And you don't want that to happen.

Choosing cosmetic repairs over necessary ones 

Home remodeling has two aspects: the things you want to do (cosmetic repairs) and the ones you need to do (necessary repairs). Make sure you understand the distinction and prioritize spending your hard-earned money on must-do tasks. Because choosing cosmetic repairs over the necessary ones is among the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling their homes. 

Sure, a new, beautifully decorated, picture-perfect kitchen is a remodeling dream. However, fixing things like a leaky roof, a crooked support beam, or moldy spots in your basement should be your priority. Ignoring these necessary repairs in order to focus on aesthetics is extremely harmful in the long run. More often than not, you'll have to tear down the beautiful kitchen you're so proud of to fix what you ignored a few months earlier. Therefore, repair the necessary things today to enjoy the beautiful things tomorrow.

Tearing down the walls without checking what's behind them 

Rough white wall of bricks and plaster

Homeowners frequently fail to evaluate how structural alterations may affect existing plumbing, electrical, and structural support.

Take, for instance, tearing down a kitchen wall to make a more open floor design. Are you confident about what's behind that wall before you pick up the hammer drill? Is the wall itself supporting your second floor, and will tearing it down jeopardize the structural integrity of your home? Additionally, will your hammer get stuck in one of the pipes or electrical wires? You don't want any of these problems!

Your contractor is qualified to provide you with information regarding what is hidden from the view. To obtain the open living layout that you so desperately want, they may advise you on what adjustments you can make, such as changing your floor plan or adding structural supports. And remember, every change is possible, you'll just have to pay for it. 

You never know what's hiding behind the walls you want to tear down