Top Ten Worst Things About Home Renovations

I've been watching A LOT of HGTV lately, and I've come to the conclusion that home renovating NEVER goes as planned, and there are a lot of pitfalls that can occur whilst trying to do a home renovation. Even if you've lived in the house a long time, all houses have secrets, and secrets cost money. HGTV makes it look easy, and even so, those professional house flippers and designers still run into plenty of problems and issues to keep them busy.
The Top Ten
1 Permits

City building permits are an expensive, time consuming, excruciating pain in the ass for anyone trying to do something to their home. The consequences of not doing the permits are severe enough to warrant doing it the right way, but it's a lot of time and money. We're trying to get a deck, a DECK built at our house, and we've waited 5 months and paid $1200, just to get someone to sign a piece of paper saying we can go ahead and build our deck. You've got my money, why it the world would it take you 5 months to sign a piece of paper?

2 Finding the Right Contractor

Other than signing up (and PAYING) for Angie's List, it's SO hard to find a great contractor. You call 5 contractors for bids, and if you're lucky 2 will respond and then neither of them will be on time. Then only one of those will get back to you with an estimate. It seems like the only option is to call 10 people, and then decide between the two that actually get back to you.

Then you've just hope that you've gotten a good one, and that they respond to you in a timely manner and get the job done as quickly as accuracy allows.

3 Dealing With Living While Your House is Under Construction

People think about the renovations, but they rarely consider what changes they are going to have to make to their lives during construction. If it's a kitchen reno, while you can still live there, you've got to take into consideration that you'll be without a way to prepare food for your family for almost the entire duration of the reno. If it's a larger space, or a bathroom situation, you might have to consider putting into your budget somewhere to stay while the construction is happening.

When we renovated our house (carpet removal, kitchen/wall remodel), we had to stay upstairs for nearly a month.

4 Unexpected Costs

Unless you built your house, there's no way of knowing how legit your builder was, or if the previous owners did some funky DIY unlicensed remodeling. This can lead to weird structural stuff, plumbing, electrical, or safely issues. These things are money traps. It seems like the smart thing to do is plan your reno at least 10k under what you can actually afford. You never know if your contractor is going to crack open the floors in your basement for a new bathroom, and you've got clay pipes, or if a wall that you want to take down is full of electrical, or pipes, or is a structure bearing wall. You've got to plan for these crazy contingencies, and be prepared to lose some parts of the reno you want to fix these problems, as well as have more in your budget that you planned for.

5 Prepping

Super excited to start on your renovation, but now you've got to find somewhere to put your stuff. This can range from dejunking, to a total overhaul and reevaluation of your stuff, depending on the job. If your kitchen is being remodeled, you've got to find a place for ALL that crockery, cookware, food, etc. That's a big job. You've also got to take into account all the dust and gunk that is brought out constantly with a renovation or remodel. You've got to cover up anything you don't want to have to clean after, and the things you can't will have to be cleaned on the daily. Like I said, a lot of work.

6 Timelines

Whether you're living through the remodel, or living somewhere else, time is of the essence for you. Unfortunately, your contractor doesn't always feel the same. On T.V. , contractors have these nice, neat timelines, and massive resources and manpower to get these jobs done. Well, in the real world, construction staff are not always as ample, and they definitely aren't cheap.

7 Budget

It sort of all comes down to the question: How much can you spend? Your budget can make or break your renovations and remodeling, and there are always those unexpected costs. If you're doing a renovation in order to sell a house for a higher value, you've got to make sure the money you put into it, you get back out if you sell, or you're basically just gifting your upgrades to the new homeowner. If you plan on renovating to your space to make it more livable for you, you've really got to consider how much you can afford to spend. Sometimes you have to sacrifice what you Should do vs what you Want to do when a tight budget is on the line, and even then, you should really only remodel under what you can really afford so you have a cushion when those unexpected expenses come up, and if none do, you have some wiggle room to make some finishing touches. You see over and over in these shows that people make long lists that max their budget completely, and there is ALWAYS a catch, always a hidden expense, always an issue, and then something has to go in order to accommodate this emergency. Bathrooms, kitchens, and knocking out walls are the most expensive things to remodel, and almost always the things you want most, so budget accordingly if those are your issues with your house.

8 Doing Your Own Remodel

If you're one of those people that is a DIYer, renovating your house yourself might be what you want to do in order to keep labor costs down, but then you've still got to figure out EVERYTHING about the remodel. The prepping, the cleaning, the work, the speed bumps, the timeline, the cleanup, and the design. Also, time is a factor when you're doing it all yourself. It takes a LONG time.

9 Deciding on a Style/Design

Everyone has a different style, and there are a million different designs that look amazing, but what is the right one for you? And you should probably stick with just one so you don't spend all your time and money to have a hodgepodge house, but how to choose? Too modern, and it will date quickly, not modern enough, why remodel? You don't want to go too neutral and get bored with it, but too much and it will look cluttered and loud.

10 Not Being Certain You’ll Get the Value Out of Your Remodel

Unless you're 100% positive that you're never going to want to move out of your house, you're also going to have to weigh and measure input/return. If you spend $50,000 on a remodel (which in the grand scheme of things isn't that much in the world of remodeling), but you don't think you'll be in the house for 10 more years, are you going to get that 50K back in the value of the house? It's an important question to ask, and you really need to do the math. If you have a realtor friend, ask them to do a comp in your area and see if you have any chance of getting back what you put in. We all work too hard for our money, and it's disappointing to say the least when you don't see a return for your efforts and investments.

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