The home renovation market is booming, it’s hard to find a street without a skip or hoarding up. You may have a vivid picture of your dream home in your mind and feel like you’re ready to get started but don’t underestimate the enormity of taking on a home makeover. Mistakes are common and costly, and without proper planning you could find yourself out of your depth pretty quickly. But by understanding the most common pitfalls and how to protect yourself against them, you can position yourself for a successful project. Here are 10 of the most commonly mistakes people make when renovating a house and how to avoid them:
1. Putting the cart before the horse
Whether it’s a small bathroom renovation or a complete house refurbishment and extension there is a sequence of steps to follow to ensure everything goes to plan.
It might be tempting to rush out your home renovation and start buying tiles because they’re on sale or a sofa that you’ve had your eye on for a while, but you should wait until your layouts are finalised and you’re completely sure about what your doing otherwise you could find yourself trying to work your design around something you wish you hadn’t spent money on.
2. Not planning for the future
It’s very easy to design a home to suit your immediate needs, especially where small children are involved. Lots of open plan spaces might seem like a great idea when your children are toddlers. But your needs will change as your children grow so it’s really important that you try to look into the future and design some flexibility into your home.
The layout should work equally well when those little toddlers grow into teenagers. Having a separate den or sitting area is a good idea for families. You might never use it when children are small but once they get older you could find yourself spending a lot of time there.
It’s not uncommon now for couples in their 40’s who are renovating a house to plan some form of ground floor space that could be adapted to a bedroom in the future. This kind of forward thinking will mean your home will only need minor if any adjustment as your needs change over time.
3. Designing around something for the wrong reasons
When renovating a house, try to put sentimentality aside. Just because something has always been there doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good reason to keep it. Similarly, designing around how you currently use your home won’t lead to a well functioning layout.
You need to start with your brief and build a solution from there. You need to look at what you are trying to achieve and plan the best way to get there. This is where hiring a professional to help can be a good idea as they will have an impartial view of your home and be able to advise how best to achieve the results you’re looking for.
4. Designing to your wish-list and not your budget
When renovating a house, it’s really important that you set a realistic budget and that you are prepared to make trade-offs along the way. It’s very easy to get carried away and try to include everything on your wishlist when renovating a house but you could find yourself in trouble very quickly. It’s really important to keep budget to the front of your mind when making decisions.
Prepare a budget before you start work and put aside sufficient contingency funds to cover unexpected expenses, for example, discovering damp or structural issues. Be open about your budget with your architect, designer or contractor.
They will help you to modify the scope of works to align with the amount you have to spend. An experienced team will be able to help you to compromise in a way that means you get maximum value and return for your budget.
Being budget conscious from the start is far better than running out of money half way through a project. In my experience regardless of how much clients have to spend, compromises always need to be made.
Budgeting for your project http://optimise-design.com/budgeting-for-your-project/
5. Not being prepared
I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. You should have everything chosen and agreed before your builder starts on site. That way you know what everything costs and you have everything ready when the builder needs it, avoiding the need to have to make on-the-spot decisions.
It’s also really important that you do some research before your start the home renovation works. Spend some time online and looking at magazines to build up a collection of images for inspiration. Not only will this help you to understand what you like and dislike but it will be a fantastic way to communicate your ideas to your architect, designer or contractor, and to any suppliers that you may be using.
6. Making decisions based on what everyone else has done
By all means seek advice from neighbours, family or friends who have done work, but don’t feel that just because they have done certain things a certain way that you need to follow suit.
You’re home and requirements will differ from your neighbours even if every house on the street is identical in style. I remember visiting a home where the owners had a strong idea about the changes that they wanted to make, not feeling that these changes would deliver the best results for their needs I asked them for their reasons for wanting to extend in this way, their response was ‘all of the neighbours have done it’.
7. Not hiring professionals to save money
Ok so you might feel like I’m biased here but really, if you are planning on any kind of large scale home renovation or house extension you should enlist the help of an architect. Structural home renovations without professional design is a big mistake.
This doesn’t have to cost the earth and many architects will have options so that you can get advice for a fee that suits your budget. Working with a design professional when renovating a house will save you from making mistakes from both a design, style, budget and time perspective.
Too often homes are renovated where the layout lets them down so there is no allowance for storage, rooms are difficult to furnish and, worse, still extensions are built that completely compromise the existing house. A good architect can manipulate the space and light to create a home that is beautiful in both form and function.
They will help to streamline the project and give you the best version of what you’ve envisioned for the home. They will also have relationships with trades people and suppliers to make buying fixtures and fittings both more affordable and less stressful.
Why hire an architect http://optimise-design.com/why-hire-an-architect/
8. Choosing the wrong contractor
Don’t make the mistake of jumping in with the first contractor you meet or are recommended, and never choose a contractor solely on price. In fact, you should be wary of the lowest bid. Always get at least two quotes and spend some time analysing and comparing the prices before making your decision.
Make sure you have a clear brief and set out the scope of works for each contractor you’ve asked to price to ensure you’re comparing like for like. Finally, make sure you check any references and if possible speak with previous clients or try to see their work in person.
Choosing the right contractor http://optimise-design.com/something-title-post/
9. Not Moving out
This might seem like a good idea to save money but I’ve rarely met someone who’s decided to live on site and not regretted it. It’s amazing how many renovators don’t realise how dirty, messy and intrusive it’s going to be. If it’s a big renovation involving most of the home, I strongly recommend they move out, even if it’s squatting with some poor family member.
10. Spending too much on the wrong things.
The most important areas to invest in are those that you make the biggest difference to your quality of life and to the enjoyment of your home. For example, if your home is cold spending a lot on expensive finishes and cutting back on insulation is not wise.
If you’re confused about how best to spend your money, a good rule of thumb is to get the fundamentals right – invest in anything that would be costly to replace at a later date and cut back on superficial elements as these can be replaced or added at a larger date.