Many of us are looking for ways to freshen things up these days, whether it be repurposing a space to meet our changing needs or creating a much-needed sanctuary in our homes. Whereas our homes used to function primarily as a pit stop in a flurry of activities—from work or school to travel to other events outside the home—they have become the place where many of us have spent the bulk of our time this past year.
As a result, homeowners have had more space to reevaluate their homes and make updates in accordance with their changing needs, thus sparking a major home improvement movement. Keep reading to learn some common home remodeling mistakes and tips to avoid them!
Mistake #1: Looking to TV for your budget & timeline
While home makeover shows can be a good source of inspiration, they are not a reliable source of information for real-world budgets or timelines. In fact, the reality shows’ false budgets and compressed timelines perpetuate wildly unrealistic expectations for homeowners.
Do some research to familiarize yourself with the general costs of building materials and home remodeling services in your area. Having this basis of knowledge will help you plan out your budget and determine value in terms of quality vs. cost. You will also feel more comfortable when discussing numbers with potential remodelers.
“In TV land, everything seems so easy and inexpensive. In a half-hour to one-hour framework, a project that could take months of wrangling, permitting and contracts in real life gets compressed into a lightning-fast segment with a happy ending.” —Mandy Mills (Washington Post)
Mistake #2: Failing to identify the root of the problem(s)
Another common home remodeling mistake is understanding your motivation is the key to a successful remodel. Are you unhappy with your space because you find the space bland, or is the problem a bit more complex? To find out, simply ask yourself “Why?” several times. For example, “This kitchen is not working for me.” Why? “Well, there isn’t enough space.” Why? “The island is too big.” Why? “The island needs to provide considerable storage in the kitchen.” Why? “Because there is not much cabinet space.” Now you have identified your specific problem: your storage needs are not being met. So, while painting the cabinetry and replacing the countertops would brighten the space, that renovation would not have addressed your real problem in the kitchen.
“If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.” —Steve Jobs
Mistake #3: Chasing trends instead of discovering your personal style
When starting a remodel, we recommend homeowners begin by looking inward. What styles suit you/your family? What colors bring you joy? What type of aesthetic are you consistently drawn to? Discovering styles that genuinely resonate with you, beyond what is “great for re-sale value” or simply embracing the latest trends is crucial to optimize the ROI of your remodel. After all, trends will change but style is forever!
Once you’ve identified a few key design elements/styles that embody your interior vibe, that’s when we suggest looking outward for supporting inspiration. By collecting aspirational imagery, paying attention to buildings you are drawn to, and taking stock of what already brings joy to your space, you can determine what stylistic changes will elevate the project. Another helpful home remodel tip is to collect words describing the look and feel you want to capture with your remodel. (Stay tuned for next month’s post for more thoughts on discovering your interior design style!)
“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.” —Billy Baldwin
Mistake #4: Biting off more than you can chew
In the remodeling business, as with business in general, three key elements need to balance in order to have a successful remodel: time, money and quality. In an ideal world, we could have all the items on our dream list, have it done quickly and get it for free. In reality, we can have two of those three at once, and that comes with tradeoffs. Sometimes it makes sense to do some or all the work yourself. Maybe you have specialty training, the project is small and saving money is the most important of those three priorities. Maybe the timeline is the most important, so you work with professionals to get the project done to the standard you are looking for on time, even if it costs some extra money.
After having watched several clients suffer the frustration of trying to take on every detail of a project themselves, hiring a professional project team to work with you to find quality sub-contractors, help make design decisions, navigate code, and keep track of the budget and timeline is more often than not a worthwhile investment. By leaving the details to the experts, you free up time to spend on the more important things.
“Deciding what NOT to do is as important as deciding what to do.” —Jessica Jackley
Mistake #5: Not communicating with your project team
Design and building, especially on a custom level, is like commissioning a custom garment. There are a lot of personal details that need to be considered in the design. Share the details you discovered about the styles that inspire you, the problems that motivated the renovation, and the goals you want to achieve with a renovation. The more your professionals understand, the more insight they can offer and then provide you a successful custom renovation that fits like a glove. Remember, they’re not mind readers!
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” —George Bernard Shaw
Mistake #6: Introducing “scope creep”
“Scope creep” is the term used when the wish list of projects grows as the renovation progresses. This can be incredibly costly and frustrating both for you and your design team, as substantial changes from the original scope will cause delays in your project. Be mindful of your initial goals and stick to the scope to ensure the smoothest process and to reduce delays in your remodel.
There will be temptations along the way regarding the possibilities for your home, especially considering the momentum you’ll have from the project at hand, so it’s important to take a step back to reflect on the intentions you set from the beginning to avoid getting caught up in the excitement of it all. Renovations are an exciting opportunity to enhance your space, but it is easy to get overwhelmed or for the project to veer off course. Just keep these few home remodel tips in mind, along with a positive attitude, and you’ll be enjoying the results soon enough!
“Begin with the end in mind.” —Stephen R. Covey
Huntington Remodeling is the residential remodeling division affiliated with Highland Homes/Huntington Homes, the largest private homebuilder in Texas with 35+ years of experience building beautiful homes at every price point and providing unmatched customer service.
As a full-service remodeler, Huntington manages remodeling projects from concept to completion to ensure that all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. Our in-house project teams work closely with clients to uncover their goals for the renovation and develop a vision that meets their current needs, lifestyle and design preferences. Then, we bring them to life using the highest quality building materials and the most advanced construction techniques.