There is no doubt, that by doing certain home improvements, you can achieve three important things. These are:
- Increasing the value of your home
- Making the design and look suitable for your own style
- Helping maintain your home
These are all very good reasons to consider making certain changes to your home. This article though is about what home improvement mistakes, you should be wary of and how to avoid making them. Hopefully, you will find this information very useful.
Most types of home improvement projects will add comfort to your home. In addition, if done properly, they will certainly and add value to your home over the long term.
However, to make sure that the improvements, actually do add value, then there are 5 common mistakes, mistakes that you need to avoid.
Home Improvement Mistake Number 1
If you are planning a bigger job, it may be necessary to hire a builder or a contractor. This can be a complete minefield. As we have seen on plenty of TV shows, there are a lot of cowboys out there. Our strong advice is to do one of two things.
Personally we would strongly advise you to go with a recommendation from a member of your family, or from a good friend. It is also a good idea to ask a neighbour if you know them well enough.
They will have first hand experience of their workmanship, and will also know and understand the prices and costs. That is invaluable information to gather.
If that is not possible, then check their qualifications and check their references. Otherwise you could very easily being disappointed with their work, and/or being overcharged. Our recommendation is that you always ask for at least three quotes.
Contractor or Builder Discussion
We have seen it all too often, where a home owner almost feels intimidated by a contractor.
Builders can often talk in jargon, and you can end up agreeing to things, that you do not properly understand. Please do not allow that to happen.
You are paying for the work, so make sure that they are going to deliver exactly what you want.
Never sign up to anything, and always ask for complete clarity. Ideally this should be written down in a signed contract.
Here are some useful suggestions when peaking with builders or contractors.
- Some people may get excited about the work starting, that they don’t want to waste time checking references. Never fall into that trap. A little time spent at the start, is a good investment in the future.
- Always remember, you are in charge of the project and not them.
- Get some previous customers of the builder or contractor, and don’t be afraid to call some of those customers up and have a chat with them. That have a lot of valuable information.
- That includes the following:
- Did their home improvement project start and end on time?
- Did the contractor respect the homeowner’s privacy?
- Would the customer hire the contractor again?
Just by doing these simple steps will avoid a world of heartache. It will also ensure you get the right person for the job.
Home Improvement Mistake No 2 – Get Council or Building Planning Permission and Permits
Certain home improvement projects do need planning permission. We are constantly surprised by the many homeowners who fail to get the necessary permits and inspections required for their home improvement project.
If you get your house rewired for example, did you know that it needs to be inspected?
That is for very good reasons. It is a health and safety check, and it ensures that you house will not burn down. Likewise with an attic conversion, certain fire regulations must be done. Again that is for your own safety.
It is true that when dealing with your local council or government employees, that it can get frustrating at times. We also understand that planning and some permits will cost you some money. And indeed, we also know that waiting for inspections can throw off your schedule.
The bottom line is that by not having properly certified and agreed work, it could eventually lead to more expensive fines later on. We have seen that happen many times.
We have also seen times when future buyers can also insist on having the work done over again. Depending on the type of project, not having the work properly inspected could even be dangerous to your life and property.
In our opinion, the risks are too big to make this mistake.
Home Improvement Mistake No 3 – Know Your Budget and Stick To It
We have listed this mistake at number three, but in all honesty, it could be the biggest mistake of all. In almost every case, we have ever seen, people will over spend on their initial budget.
We have also seen many times, when they didn’t even think about how much a home improvement job would cost.
If you fail to plan a home improvement project without setting a realistic budget ahead of time, you are certainly making a big mistake. It almost guaranteed that there will be a big over spend.
It can also mean that to control budget costs, you end up skimping on cheaper materials.
We have a rule of thumb, when it comes to any type of work like this. The rule is to add on 20% to what you think it might cost. We have found time after time, is that is what really happens.
The reasons something like this happens is down to a three main things:
- Changing your mind about something during the project – for example wanting to add a few extra electrical sockets into a room, or perhaps buying better furnishings that was initially planned
- Buying more expensive items – this happens a lot with things like bathroom suites, kitchen door cupboards etc
- All the bits and bobs – having to buy things like screws, nails, glue, hinges etc
Always do the finances and the planning before you start demolishing walls with a sledgehammer. Yes I know it is much more fun to drive a hammer through a wall you no longer want, but think about the costs.
Planning is also important, and we have often seen cases where people spend too much on phases that don’t really matter that much, and then not have the money you need for more important parts of the job.
Coming up with a budget for the total project will help you plan the entire job from start to finish.
Home Improvement Mistake No 4 – Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
There are two aspects to this mistake. The first thing is to do one home improvement task at a time. Never try and do a whole range of projects at the same time. If for example you are planning a loft conversion, then do not get tempted to do a bathroom renovation at the same time.
The second element of this is the dangerous DIY man. Now personally I love doing a lot of DIY. However I learned my skills as an electrician, and I know a lot of people in the trade. Over the years I have picked up a lot of tips and tricks when it comes to home improvement.
Many people do not have this type of background. Even with my experience, there are still certain home improvements, that I would never consider taking on. Building a garage would be one example, where as building a shed is something I could do.
Never ever take on a project that you don’t have the skills to do properly, is my very best advice.
Home Improvement Mistake No 5 – Doing the Wrong Type of Home Improvements
This may sound like an odd thing to say, when it comes to mentioning mistakes. There are however certain types of home improvements, that are certain to add value to your home.
It is first worth saying that if you plan on making this your long term residence, then anything you do will of course be good value, as you will get to enjoy it.
However, if you only plan on being there for a few years, before moving on, then just be careful what home improvement projects, you spend you hard earned cash on. That is even more true, if you plan on taking out any type of loan.
Projects like double glazing, affordable landscaping, rewiring, new plumbing, a new kitchen or bathroom will almost always add value to your home.
Other projects like decoration, or specific themes for a room almost always never add value. In fact, your choice of decoration could actually put some potential buyers off.
Our Conclusion on Home Improvement Mistakes
Learning how to avoid these common mistakes will save you the pain and frustration of a home improvement project gone wrong. We have seen these mistakes happen time and time again.
Try to avoid these top five home improvement mistakes to get the maximum benefit from any project you undertake.
Always check the references of your contractor and verify that they are qualified to do the work. Never just go ahead and do a project, without getting the permits and inspections that your council requires. Always have a plan and a budget for your project from beginning to end.
Never take on multiple projects, or try to do work that you are perhaps uncertain of exactly what is required. And finally, if you are only in the home for a short to medium term, pick your projects wisely.
If you follow these simple recommendations, that we have suggested above, then you will be able to view your finished project with pride and a sense of accomplishment.