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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

The Four Worst Mistakes People Make In Home Improvement Projects

Written by Posted On Thursday, 21 July 2016 18:21


Thanks to shows dating back to the seventies like “This Old House” a culture has grown around the globe that has allowed individuals from bankers to accountants to pick up a hammer and do things themselves around the house. The problem is that just because we think we can do something, that does not necessarily mean that we should. Even the best of home improvement intentions can go awry due to some common mistakes. 

Nothing is more costly than attempting your own remodel to find that you can’t do what you thought you could. Dealing with an older home is like going on a blind date, you just never know what you are going to find when you open up some doors. Before you set hammer to nail, there are some things that you should be aware of and consider to save yourself from costly disasters. Learn from the good deeds gone bad of others and avoid falling into these four remodeling pitfalls.

#1 Not budgeting correctly

As a new developments homeowner, how often has something broken, or something needed to be fixed that you thought to yourself “how much can that cost?”, only to be handing someone your wallet and all the contents in it? Houses are like cars; estimates are always more than you think they are going to be. Also, once the work has begun, there are often unforeseen costs you get into, once in the thick of things. One of the biggest mistakes that do-it-yourselfers make is not to put enough padding in their budget to deal with added costs or project overruns. 

Most home remodels go a minimum of 15% to 20% over, which seasoned professionals plan ahead for. If you are going to do your own work, make sure to add enough into the money plan to cover everything and then some. It is okay when you run out of money at the end of a project, but really unfortunate when you are in the throws of it, and there isn’t enough to finish.

#2 If you have a plan…stick to it

In the midst of a project something may seem really cool, or come to mind. Those additional “lightbulb moments” are rarely, if ever, free. When the potential arises, it is wise to make changes that will affect the project but only if they are necessary, and they won’t throw you completely off track, or off budget. If you open up a wall to find that the space is much more usable, then it is understandable that you may want to call the architect to reevaluate, just be mindful that all those changes are going to cost you. Not only will there likely be additional labor charges, but there is also going to be schedule changes that are probably going to hold things up.

#3 Need to go high end

Just because you Googled some really cool new product that you can add, that does not mean that you have the funds to do so. Stick to the program to stay on task and within your means no matter how cool something seems. If you were okay without it when you were planning, you should go back to being okay without it even when discovered, or sacrifice somewhere else. You aren’t building a house for the DIY show, or Life Time of the Rich and Famous. Although hard to accept, sometimes it just isn’t in the cards for us to have everything that we want when we want it.

#4 There are things that you probably will not be able to do yourself

Most home improvement goers assume that they can do things that they can’t or probably shouldn’t. Plumbing and electrical work are things which are best left up to professionals with reason. If you don’t know the ordinances in your locale, or you don’t understand the potential dangers of electrical or plumbing work, it is always best to build into the budget having someone else come in and do the intricate or trades work for you. It may cost a little more, but it will cost a lot less than cleaning up after a flood or fire. 

There are a lot of things that homeowners can tackle thanks to things like the internet and home improvement shows. Just be careful, the television makes things look a lot easier than they are. Also, if you are going to do your own project, always ensure to have a buffer for if things don’t go exactly as planned. In home improvement, they rarely do. If you have money left at the end of the project, even better, you can start on your next fixer upper right away.





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