7 Home Improvement Mistakes You Can Avoid By Using A Designer

Don't make these costly home improvement mistakes when renovating your home

Your home is one of the biggest investments you'll make during your lifetime. If you're like most homeowners, at some point you'll want to remodel. Whether your home improvement project is updating your master suite or a gut-to-the-studs kitchen remodeling, if you don't do it right it can really cost you.

It can truly be an exciting prospect to create your dream kitchen or convert your attic into a media room your whole family can enjoy. While it's easy to envision the end result, it's important to also understand the process before you begin. All too often, a homeowner will jump into a project and end up making major mistakes, like choosing a contractor because they submitted the lowest bid, or hiring someone who doesn't specialize in the work they're having done.

The following tips will help you to educate yourself and avoid these seven biggest and costliest remodeling mistakes.

Seven Mistakes To Avoid When Undertaking A Home Improvement Project

The first step to avoiding mistakes with your project is to educate yourself. Working with a qualified professional design-build-remodeling firm can save you from making these costly errors. A professional builder will understand the technical aspects such as pulling the right permits, sequencing the work, and will offer outstanding quality workmanship. They will also work closely with you to define your creative vision and set a proper budget and timeline for your project.

Here are seven major mistakes to avoid that can cost you big!

Not Knowing What You Want

If you don't have a detailed idea of exactly what you want, you're going to get what your builder thinks you want, and it could cost you big. Start by building an idea file. Clip photos from home magazines, start an online ideas file on sites like Houzz. Make sure you can clearly articulate your creative vision. Find a designer you feel comfortable with and a builder who will take the time to understand your vision.

Hiring the Very First Contractor You Talk To

He might seem like a nice, competent guy, but have you done your due diligence? Have you checked references, looked at the Guild-Quality website, seen his work (in person)? Make sure you do your research. Check to make sure he is licensed, bonded, certified, and respected by former clients, sub-contractors, and others in the industry. As excited as you might be to get started, choosing the wrong contractor can turn your dream home improvement into a nightmare!

Compromising On Your Vision

You're making a major investment in your future when you plan a home improvement project. Don't let a well-meaning designer steer you towards a color, finish or material that you don't absolutely love. Don't cut corners when it comes to materials. Saving a couple of bucks might feel good today, but in a year or two, not so much. Keep your project within budget, but don't settle.You're going to live with the results for years, make sure you're happy with what you get!

Don't Do Anything Without A Contract And A Plan!

After choosing your design-builder, make sure that you have a specific plan, schedule, and contract before you write a check. Outline a payment/milestone schedule, the scope of work, materials to be used, cleanup and debris removal, change order procedure, and job sequence to make sure everything is done correctly. This last element is important! You wouldn't want to paint before the electric work is finished for example. Make sure you update your contract anytime there is a change and conduct regular walkthroughs to make sure the job is progressing as planned.

Choosing Your Design-Build-Remodeler Solely Based on Price

Your designer should lead you through the process.

An organized process will help avoid remodeling mistakes.

Of course, you want to work with a contractor that provides you with a good price. But it's about more than just price. It's about value. Make sure that whoever you hire can do the work. A low price from a contractor who has never done a gut remodel on a kitchen isn't a bargain if they can't deliver. When soliciting bids, make sure you provide contractors with a specific list of project specifications. Include:

• Project summary

• Any plans, drawings or photos

• Any design ideas you may have developed

• Start and finish dates

• Any details you can think of like the grade of paint, number of coats, solid wood cabinets, granite countertops etc.

• Any special circumstances they may need to be aware of like homeowner association restriction son work days or times.

By providing all the specifics to bidders, you can be sure that you are looking at accurate bids from each.

Failing to Make A Realistic Budget

Every remodeling project is unique. There are almost always issues that arise, from re-routing electric to bringing plumbing up to code. These can be big hits to an unrealistic budget and may force you to downgrade on the quality of materials, which in the end, will give you less than you expect from your home improvement. Older homes and bigger projects are more likely to have hidden expenses that can ding your budget. Even the best contractor can't plan for the unexpected. Most will build a 10 to 15% contingency into their bid. Make sure to hire one with a transparent pricing policy.

Not Working With A Designer

A general contractor is not a designer. You need a good design as a base to get an aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting solution. The training and skill set is completely different. A designer will bring an artistic eye to a project and will be able to use interesting materials effectively within your budget. By working with a full-service design-build-remodeling firm, you get the best of both worlds!

These common mistakes can really cost you! Make sure when vetting potential contractors to ask if they offer design services, transparent pricing, and will work with you in a collaborative way. A major home improvement is an investment you only want to make once. Make sure you get specific answers to your questions and avoid these common mistakes. Our Proven Process For Your Successful Project is designed to prevent these problems. If you're seeking a design-build-remodeler for a home improvement project in Greater Madison, WI, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Click here to schedule an appointment.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 6/25/2018.

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.