You’ve done it! You saved your money, spoke to your investment analyst (multiple times!), signed a mortgage, and bought the perfect home. The next step is moving into your dream home to personalize it and make it feel like your own special space.

The issue is knowing whether to start with a big house renovation or to simply redecorate. Remodelling a home requires many design skills that not everybody has. We came up with a list of important factors that design and renovations experts want new home-owners to consider before diving into a total house remodel.  RENOVATION MISTAKES

1. Not budgeting enough funds towards the renovation plans

When starting to plan for your new and improved home, many people can envision their renovations designs in their mind, but often times these can be far more costly than they realize. Renovating a home often starts with one project that once begun, ends up leading to other necessary projects that have additional costs. Whatever you’re budgeting for, add at least 10 to 15 percent to that amount so that you have money available for any unexpected costs. Plus, if you manage to stay within the initial budget, you have extra money available for your next renovation project!

2. Being overly eager right away

Before you jump into the interior remodeling of your new home, take some time to get to know the space. Try moving things around until you find what works best for your needs, while exploring the quirks of the home. Living in your home before you begin any major renovations will give you a better sense of what you love about each room, how the space flows, and what your personal needs or desires are to enhance your home. The following are some things to when moving into a new house.

If you rush into changes right away, you may make mistakes or changes that are not exactly fitting for your long term goals for the home. You want to make the right choices when spending time and money on your home, make sure you're comfortable with your choices and know your space. 


3. Not using a design professional from the beginning

Using an interior designer can help bring your house renovation vision to life. A designer will help you make the best decision for your space that falls within your budget. While the cost of hiring a design specialist may be high, the benefit you will get from using one will help you avoid mistakes, since you will already be spending a good chunk of money. They can help you make smart and worth-while decisions, which will make remodelling a home a breeze. 

Pro tip: Some renovation companies in Calgary will offer free interior design consultations to help you out. Recently our clients had their kitchen cabinets lacquered (Painted) and as part of the process, the company came in and did a full design consultation for the kitchen space, providing our clients advice for wall colours and what colours would work for painting the cabinets and island (different) that would match the new floors being installed. 

4. Choosing cheap instead of quality

Your home is your investment, and it doesn’t just stop when you purchase the house – it requires ongoing maintenance. The areas of your home that you encounter each day, the places you touch, and the spaces with the heaviest traffic are where you should be focusing your attention. These areas deserve to have quality furnishings, hardware, and material, otherwise, they will not stand the test of time.

Always keep resale value in mind. Yes the work being done should be tailored to your needs, but consider the possibility of having to resell the home. Going the cheaper route in some instances may not only cost you down the line when it comes to replacing items, it could also cost you down the road when you go to sell. 

5. Thinking that renovating a house will happen perfectly

You may think that you know or have what it takes to renovate a house, but one thing that happens even to the most seasoned contractors is that things simply don’t always go according to plan. Renovating houses, whether new or old, the job rarely gets completed exactly as hoped. Mistakes happen. Delays on shipments and logistics can stall a whole project. Discovering unexpected, but necessary changes can cause more expenses. Being prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best is the only mindset that you should have when beginning major renovations to your home.

A recent client of ours was working through their custom home build and saw delays into months for custom high end items like their main door, and the imported tile flooring they were installing. This set them back significantly in their scheduling and was completely unforeseen. There are instances where you have to weigh the impacts of a delay vs the completion of your project. 

6. Not consulting renovation experts throughout the designing process

Creating and planning the design for your interior remodel project is important, but consulting the plan as it develops with your general contractor can help you make smart decisions that make sense for your budget and space. If your new to renovations, work with someone who is willing to give insight and advice, tips, and feedback. The experience of a good GC or master of trades can make or break a room. 

Learning the hard way on this can be costly, don't be afraid to get the opinions of other professionals. For example a floor installer let us know that a recent project they worked on had nearly $1,000 in wasted materials, the clients didn't consult with anyone and did their own measurements for their flooring project. They got transitions for each room thinking it was necessary and as it turned out, the installer was able to fabricate transitions with the flooring material itself that looked far superior than the custom pieces they had ordered, this resulted in products being left over that they weren't able to return and would otherwise be hard to resell on Kijiji or the Facebook marketplace. A quick consultation with the installer could have covered this and saved them time and money. 

7. Not asking questions throughout the project

Tying into the previous point, you may not understand all the intricacies of renovating a house, so ask the experts when you’re unsure. The work is being done for you, and you are the one paying for the project, it is important that you know why certain decisions are being made and how they will affect you. After all, it is better to ask a multitude of questions to make sure things are how you like them, rather than realizing after it is too late that you should have.

There's definitely a way to go about this, being too involved in a project can have its drawbacks, and asking a hundred questions can land you on the bad side of everyone working on the project. Practicing a little reasonable judgment and always addressing major concerns should be your foundation for whether you should be asking a question to your GC or someone working on your remodel. 

8. Not looking into references

Word of mouth can have a huge influence on which professionals you choose to work with. Before hiring anyone to help with your renovation project, ask the potential candidates for references from recent jobs they have been involved with. Finding out from firsthand encounters can help you make the most informed choice when it comes to who you decide to work with.

However, simply taking the advice of one friend or family member can cause headaches later on in the project. Always consider that your expectations and level of expertise and workmanship can really vary from others. Simply picking someone who was referred isn't the best option, always do your own independent research and make a few phone calls to references and ask for pictures or videos of past work. 

9. Not keeping everyone informed about the plans

Making a renovation plan that keeps people up to date with any changes, purchases, or upgrades will help to eliminate miscommunication and frustrations. Doing this, whether manually or digitally, can allow for a smoother and more cohesive renovation project. Plus, keeping the details accurate as the remodelling happens, can be a great resource to show to potential buyers when the time comes to sell your home.

This includes your significant other! Whether tasks and projects are divided, or whole projects are taken on by one person, it's always important to try to keep each other on the same page and in line with your plans. In our experience, one of the most common costly mistakes that we hear about is when couples don't communicate and things like flooring, paint, or other finishes end up being changed. 

10. Starting too many projects at once

Being overly ambitious and starting multiple renovation projects may seem like a time efficient way to take care of everything at once, but it can quickly become overwhelming. Since renovation plans tend to change along the way, and time lines can often be unpredictable and volatile, it often makes more sense to properly complete one project or room before starting work on the next.

Doing too much at once can be chaotic (especially if you are living in the home through the changes), so start with what makes the most sense to you, your budget, and your renovation team. In our experience, living through a renovation can be one of the most challenging things a couple or individual can take on. Imagine after a long day of work, you don't come home to a relaxing space, but a chaotic mess with lots to do, it can get pretty taxing and without anywhere to unwind and enjoy the pressures and stresses can really wear you down.

11. Working with experts that you don’t mesh with

When looking for quality experts to help bring your design vision to life, it is vital to find someone that you enjoy working with. You will be spending many hours with them, discussing exactly what is needed, how you want the project to progress, and a multitude of other details, so make sure that the person or people that you hire for the job are compatible with you. If you hire someone that is highly talented, but you are constantly arguing or clashing with them, they may not be the right person for the job. Remember, you are the boss in your own home, so if you are unhappy with the people constantly working on it, and you’ve tried to have reasonable discussions without success, you have the power to change professionals.

12. Regularly changing your mind about the project

While making changes along the way can sometimes be necessary, constantly changing your mind can cause delays, higher expenses, and frustrations for your hired professionals. 

Consider timelines and commitments, while you may have all the time in the world to get the job done perfect, it doesn't mean your trades and installers do.  Before you make up your mind, consider that changes could result in major delays and substantial costs. 

13. No set timeframe to complete interior remodelling

Once you have the plan for what you want, the next step is to determine how soon you want it completed. Discussing the timeframe that you have in mind with your contractor, where they can give you a realistic estimate to get the work completed. Be generous in your timeline because home renovations often take longer than what is planned for, so give yourself extra wiggle room.

By not creating and sticking to a set timeline as best as possible, your team may not feel the rush to get it completed in time. While delays can happen, keeping your contractor or trades in check with timelines can be crucial. We've had a few tales of lengthy timelines told from clients and it always boiled down to them not getting clear expectations from their GC's at the beginning and throughout the project. 

14. Wanting all the modern technology

It may be desirable to add modern tech when upgrading your home, but it can require a good chunk of your budget. Spending a lot of money on cool technology can make your house more efficient, and might seem like a useful tool, but it can become outdated quickly. If you plan on reselling your home right away, it can be a selling point, but if you plan on living there for several years before selling, it is unlikely to look appealing to buyers to have out of date tech that will need updating 10 to 15 years later. 

When you're contemplating tech upgrades or home automation, consider future proofing and consulting professionals or leveraging various niche online communities for their expertise.

15. Attempting to handle all the renovations on your own

You may think you know how to renovate a house, but there is a lot more to it than you might think. Don't be afraid of engaging the expertise of interior designers, architects, contractors, electricians, and plumbers who can ensure that projects are completed safely and properly that might be out of your skill set. Trying to handle all the work yourself can create frustrations and mistakes, whereas using a professional, while more expensive, can eliminate risks of dangerous and irreparable damage. 


Posted by Calgary Homes Real Estate Partners Team on
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