When remodeling a home, there are countless details, information, decisions, and processes. Very often, they become overwhelming … “Did I choose the right tile? Should I call the plumber or the electrician first? The tile guy wants to start tomorrow … Do we have tile yet? When do I call the painter? Are we on track with budget? When will this be done? Was this even worth the hassle? These are just some of the questions that come to mind with remodeling clients. Luckily, your home remodel doesn’t have to be so stressful. Here are some mistakes to avoid so you can remodel your home without the unnecessary hassle.

Mistake #1: Hiring the wrong contractor.

The contractor and team you hire will be the one to answer (or help answer) all your questions. Make sure that the contractor is not only capable and reliable but also trustworthy. Remember, this is the person making decisions about who will be in and out of your house over the course of a couple months. Can you have an honest, frank conversation with this person? Are they able to be honest and frank with you? If you choose the wrong team, the difficult times lie ahead.

Mistake #2: Fuzzy Math and unreliable budget information.

Many consumers rely on 3rd party lead generation sites to set their budget. These companies have figured out people frequently search for “cost to remodel a kitchen” or something similar. However, they are not qualified to answer this question, nor do they know the details of design or the details of your kitchen. They just want to sell a lead to 3-5 different contractors. Discuss your budget openly with your contractor and hold back 20% of what you are willing to spend for contingencies. Don’t trust a website to answer this question. It wastes your time and your contractor’s time to stand in your home and dream up a $65k kitchen when you only have $40k to spend.

Mistake # 3: Rushing the process and a lack of efficiency.

Time is a funny thing. Most contractors will tell you that time kills deals. I believe that is true, but I also believe that the deal that gets killed over time was never meant to be. Contractors take as much time as necessary in design and planning for good reason. Once the job starts, decisions made in haste can have a negative impact both in time, money, form and function. That is exactly why we try to make all our selections upfront. This also allows us to provide a fixed-price proposal and consider alternatives along the way. Taking time in the design process to think through all the options before the demo starts makes for better job planning. With that sort of planning, we can order materials and have them on hand or have plenty of lead time to make changes if something is no longer available. This sort of job planning allows us to be very specific with trade partners so that scheduling is easier and they know what to expect when they arrive on-site.

Mistake #4: Caring too much about the payoff.

The Cost vs. Value Report is published annually by Remodeling Magazine. Follow the link to check out how different remodeling jobs contribute to resale value: I used to ask every client “do you care about resale value?”. Many times, the answer was no. Everyone has different reasons for remodeling, and among them is the payoff. The question then becomes whether the payoff worth your time, money, and the upheaval of remodeling. Unfortunately, I have been witness to marital issues and family problems stemming from what one person thinks is important and life-changing, but the other doesn’t even see the relevance. Consider the payoff not only in terms of financial cost vs. value but also cost vs. value in the quality of life for all those involved both during and after the job is done. the money pit movieThere are many lessons to learn from the 1980’s movie classic The Money Pit. We have already covered a few of those lessons above, hiring the right contractor, poor budgeting, inefficient processes and systems, rushing into a bad deal. The job turned out great, and Hollywood rescued us with a happy ending, but at what cost? Hollywood won’t be there to bail you out, so plan to avoid these mistakes!