1. Surprise! This isn't HGTV!
You’re not on an home improvement show, so don’t expect your home remodel to be like one. No, it probably won’t take just eight weeks, and no you won’t be surprised by the result at the end (at least you shouldn’t be). Good contractors keep you updated on at least a weekly basis, so there are no giant reveals at the end of your project. One of the most unrealistic things about home improvement shows is the pricing of the projects. Remodeling shows exclude labor costs, and seldom disclose materials that were donated or deeply discounted in exchange for television exposure. These standard practices create unrealistically low price tags. What you see on camera is for the camera, and has little to do with reality. The host works with a hammer in hand when the camera is on, but other workers take over when the camera is off. On camera, the materials look good from a distance but what about up close? According to tradesmen who worked off-camera on these projects the work during the show was rushed and often sloppy. And homeowners sometimes receive a large payment so they can make necessary changes and corrections to the home once the crew has left.
2. Have a Clear Vision Before You Start
When I first met with my designer/contractor, I knew I wanted a master suite and office space upstairs. I also wanted my main floor bathroom to be updated, but that was all I really knew for sure. While it is OK to not know exactly how you want things to look in the planning stages, by the time of the first sledgehammer swing, everyone should be on the same page when it comes to the project’s vision. Don’t start demolition until you have a plan in place.
3. Wall to Wall Carpet
Everyone has their own opinion about which is better––hardwood floors or carpet. The flooring that wears out the fastest, though, is carpet which can look bad very quickly. Plus, it can harbor lots of allergens, dust, and stains that can’t be easily removed. When people move into a new home, they want to start as fresh as possible, and living on the previous owner’s carpet usually isn’t ideal. When it comes to remodeling your home, you have to weigh the pros and cons of different projects based on their value to your home and your own personal preferences.
4. Be Honest With Yourself
While some home remodel projects may be DIY friendly, be honest about your handy-person skills or you may end up in the emergency room. If you are unfamiliar with electrical or plumbing jobs, not sure how to run certain power tools or don’t feel comfortable on ladders or scaffolding, hire a professional for your home remodel.
5. Be Flexible with Deadlines
There’s a very good chance that something will go wrong or unexpected expenses will arise during your home remodel. When workers started tearing up my upstairs floor, they found asbestos tiles that needed to be removed. That not only added an additional cost, but time, as well, since work had to be delayed while we waited for professionals to remove the tiles.