Top 10 Renovation DON’TS

Home Builder with Javic Homes

By Jon Solomon

As new home builders in Tampa, we’ve also completed many large renovation projects. Whether they are historical renovations, entire home renovations or large additions, we’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do. Read on if you’d like some insight and ways to help make your home renovation process a better experience.

  1. Don’t Delay Decisions – The key to staying within your budget and timeframe is to complete your design and select your finishes BEFORE you begin construction. Small things like paint, trim and faucets may seem minor, but it can take weeks to get that faucet delivered. Not to mention that plumbers may need to be rescheduled or your fixture doesn’t work with your cabinet, the delay can be even longer. Planning ahead will save you a lot of time and money.
  2. Don’t Change Your Mind (Too Much) – We realize this is difficult, but understand that every change, however minor, results in added cost and/or time. Everyone makes changes (and that’s okay), but try to minimize them and be aware of the impacts.
  3. Don’t Buy Your Own Materials – This always seems like such a great way to save money. What few people realize is the headaches that can result. These begin with the owner taking responsibility for coordinating the material delivery and storage. Often it continues if material is damaged or missing parts. Keep in mind, if you buy material, the builder can’t warranty the material. If there is a warranty issue, the last thing you want is finger pointing whether it’s a material or installation problem. Having the builder purchase all material holds them accountable, regardless of material or installation issues.
  4. Don’t Put Lipstick on a Pig – It’s easy to overspend on the renovation of a home. Let's face it, some houses are better off being torn down, rather than trying to save them through renovation. Installing high-end appliances and cabinets may simply be too much for a home to ever recoup the cost. Foundation or structural issues may also make the renovation prohibitive.
  5. Don’t Work The High Wire Without a Net – If there is a consistent theme in renovations, it’s to expect the unexpected. That’s why you need to have a contingency fund. Old homes didn’t have the same inspection and code requirements that we do today, so opening up walls can bring some unpleasant surprises. Make sure you establish a contingency fund of 3-5% when you budget your renovation. Don’t use the extra funds for flooring and other items, save it for the unexpected.
  6. Don’t Live in the Home – Unless you are a big fan of long camping trips, living in a home during a large renovation simply isn’t enjoyable. Even the best builders can’t eliminate the dust, noise and inconveniences of water, electric and AC interruptions. To make it easier on your family and the construction crew, stay elsewhere while your home is being renovated.
  7. Don’t Let Kids and Pets Get in the Way – Although adults can notice potential danger, kids and pets often can’t. Construction areas are simply not safe for kids and pets, so keep them away as much as possible.
  8. Don’t Direct Workers – We all know that you’re the “ultimate boss”, but communication should be done through the builder. It may seem intuitive to ask a framer to make a small change, but who knows how that variation will impact cabinets and other items. Talk with your builder about any modifications and let them direct workers so there aren’t ripple effects.
  9. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Yes, easier said than done, but isn’t that what you’re paying your builder to do? If you want to make the renovation process smoother and less stressful, do your best to let the builder focus on the details.
  10. Don’t Expect a Smooth Ride – Wouldn’t it be great if renovations just rolled off a factory line and were perfect every time? Unfortunately, each renovation is different. They are one of the last items that are still built by hand – a lot of hands. So it’s not if, but when you will hit that bump in the road. These will likely be small bumps, so stay flexible to the various solutions for addressing them.

So that’s our Top 10 Don’ts for renovations. While a renovation may be a great option for updating your home, make sure you are well aware of the hiccups that can occur and the best ways to prevent them. If you are considering renovating your home, contact us to learn more.

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Comments (4)

Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I love this advice - especially numbers 4 and 5.  Lipstick on a pig and no safety net...seen them both and the results aren't pretty!

Sep 17, 2012 12:16 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
Thank you for the great tips. I will bookmark this and share with others. Suggested.
Sep 17, 2012 12:18 AM
Bud & Beth McKinney
Cary/Raleigh/Apex NC - The Team That Cares, RE/MAX United

This is good information to have right now as I'd like to have some renovation done on my own home soon!

Sep 17, 2012 12:20 AM
Jon Solomon
Javic Homes - Tampa, FL

Gary - We've all seen it and it's really NOT pretty.

Gita - Thanks for sharing with others.

Bud/Beth - Use the list regularly.  It's easy to forget and fall back into some of the traps.  Good luck on your renovation.

Sep 17, 2012 01:42 AM

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