Home improvement projects are big commitments, both financially and in terms of time. Because of this, they require careful consideration and planning. Mistakes can often cause big headaches. Being aware of the common mistakes to avoid on your next home improvement project when deciding to invest money back into your home and working with the right home improvement company can help keep things on track.
Done right, home improvement projects enhance your home and your quality of life. Done wrong, these projects can lead homeowners into serious pitfalls and long-lasting headaches. When you are planning your next project, consider these common mistakes to avoid on your next home improvement project and make sure they’re nowhere to be found in both the planning and implementation stages of the project:
Mistake #1 – Ignoring Curb Appeal and Your Local Market
The curb appeal of your home is more important than you might realize at first. You have to consider how your home looks from your perspective as well as the perspective of others. Ignoring the curb appeal of your home and what’s desirable, or undesirable, in your local market are common mistakes to avoid.
On the one hand, you want to appreciate how your home looks from the street because you see it the most. You likely pull up to your home several times each day in your vehicle, and if you are dissatisfied with the aesthetics of the home’s exterior, it can be an emotional drain. On the other hand, if you ever decide to put your home on the market to sell it, the first photo that most people will see is the exterior.
Homes with high curb appeal make for easier sales. So, ignoring how your home improvement project or new construction meshes with the existing structure is a big mistake. Cutting corners in this area should be avoided. It is important that the new construction and the old construction flow together in such a way that the home does not end up looking disjointed or poorly planned. This is one of the reasons it is so important to contract with an experienced home improvement company.
In addition to general curb appeal, when conducting a home improvement project it is important to consider the local market and trends in the area. While it is not necessary to make your home look like every other home on your street, a unique look can be achieved without turning your home into a spectacle that looks entirely out of place for the area. A home that stands out for the wrong reasons or has features that are undesirable in your local market can make selling your home in the future a much more difficult task as you may be limiting your potential buyer pool.
Mistake #2 – Not Vetting a Potential Home Improvement Contractor
In any given geographic area there are typically dozens of home improvement contractors that you could find with a simple Google search. It is a competitive marketplace and there are many contracting businesses that open and then shut their doors within the same year. While it is hard to vet the prior work of a newer contractor, it is also difficult to ensure with certainty that they will still be in business in a few years to stand behind their work. This is simply the reality of entrepreneurship. For this reason, it is to your benefit to contract with an established company.
Regardless of the contractor you choose, there are certain steps you should take to verify their work, craftsmanship, and industry reputation. First, you should be sure to meet the contractor in person before signing on with them. If they have a showroom, make an appointment to stop by and visit it. This gives you an opportunity to see what vendors and product options they work with and it gives you the opportunity to get familiar with the options that are available for the type of home improvement project you are about to undertake.
Secondly, ask them to provide verification of their contractor license and their insurance. This is one of the common mistakes to avoid and failing to ask for these items can have severe legal ramifications for you as a property owner. If they have employees, be sure to verify that they carry worker’s compensation insurance in addition to liability coverage. Experienced contractors with a reputation for quality work will have no issue with providing you with multiple references from past customers and other business owners they may contract with. They may also have testimonials available on their website. Ask for these and check them out before you sign a contract. References and client testimonials are a great way to vet the reliability, business ethics and quality of work of the contractor you are considering.
Mistake #3 – Focusing on Price and Not Also Considering Value
Total project cost will always be a consideration when planning to remodel or add on to your home. The problem for homeowners who are looking to take on a home improvement project occurs when price becomes the only concern and value, quality, and more fall to the wayside. Price and value, while connected, are two very different things. Thinking of these two as the same thing is one of the common mistakes to avoid on your next home improvement project to ensure you’re getting quality work.
In terms of importance, it is far more beneficial for a homeowner to focus on value because it includes price than to focus on price alone. “Cheap-work-fast” is rarely good and “good-work-fast” is rarely cheap. However, with the proper vetting and planning process, you can find a contractor that will work with you within pricing constraints and advise you on materials and contracting services that will meet your goals for your project while providing you with a great amount of value.
Mistake #4 – Failing to Budget Appropriately
When it comes to home improvement projects, it is important to have a budget in place. The problem occurs when budgetary planning isn’t done appropriately. A reputable contractor will be able to help you with this process, but you need to have an initial idea of what you want to accomplish with your project and what you can reasonably afford with your current cash flow.
These considerations are a bit more complex than simply figuring out what your bank will loan you and getting an estimate from a licensed contractor. When budgeting for a home improvement project, homeowners need to allocate a certain percentage of the budget to changes or upgrades to the planned home improvements that may occur as the project progresses. Sometimes, unforeseen obstacles are uncovered that require additional work, or homeowners may decide on a different grade of materials. If the possibility, or probability, of these changes is included in the budget, they create far fewer challenges mid-project.
A reputable contractor will work with you throughout the entire home improvement process. They will work with you beforehand to establish a budget, advise on any suggestions they may have for you regarding the project, and keep you updated throughout the project, all while being conscious to stay within the budgetary guidelines of your project.
Home improvement projects are exciting events for homeowners. They promise to increase the quality of life around the home and create additional avenues for enjoyment and quality family time. Depending on the type of project, they have the ability to make the home more efficient or positively impact the homeowner’s finances in the long-term by either adding home value or lowering energy costs.
In all the excitement and positivity that surrounds these projects, it’s important to remember these common mistakes to avoid on your next home improvement project. This will help your project stay on track as well as on budget and ultimately culminate with an awesome, quality improvement to your home. If you are looking for some guidance when planning your next project, give us a call today at (717) 399-4708 or stop by our showroom to get inspired!