The Do’s and Don’ts of a Renovation

Thinking of embarking on the journey of a home renovation?  Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction and avoid costly mistakes….as well as some fun photos of renovations gone wrong!

DON’T:  DIY!!!!  Sure you can do your own painting, watch some youtube videos on how to lay new flooring or revamp your wiring but should you???  Understandably you want to save money where you can but if you aren’t trained or skilled in carpentry, leave it to the professionals.  Buyers will always be able to spot less than perfect work on your home and this will cost you more in the end. 


DO:  Set a realistic budget. Renovations invariably cost more than expected. Build in an extra 20% to your budget to be better prepared for any surprises.

DON’T:  Hire contractors on a whim.  Everyone has a buddy of a buddy who does some side work for extra cash under the table but is this really a smart choice?  Don’t select your contractor based on price alone; get several estimates to compare price quotes and references and make sure you can work easily with them.

DO:  Create a Triangle and Invest in Quality Appliances.  If your renovation includes the complete tear out of a kitchen, be sure to use the triangle rule when you are planning the new layout.  Your fridge, stove and sink should form a triangle…this will make for easy movement throughout your kitchen…especially during big meal prep!  But most importantly…pick out your appliances first to ensure you leave enough space and DO NOT cheap out on appliances!  Your kitchen renovation will add the most value to your home so choose wisely…this is where an upgrade will pay off!


DON’T:  Over-do the reno!  Yes you want your home to be the nicest on your street and for your friends and family to be amazed at the transformation you made happen.  But before you get carried away with all of your inspiration from HGTV, consult with a realtor to see what homes are selling for in your community and what upgrades they have had to ensure you aren’t putting too many upgrades in a community where Buyers won’t pay for those upgrades.  To clarify….if your house is currently valued at $400,000 and the highest sale in your neighborhood is $420,000 DON’T do a $100,000 renovation!  Spend your money where it counts!


DO:  Rely on neutral colors.  Even if you think you are in your forever home and will never sell, life can always be unpredictable and you really just never know!  Sticking to neutral colors is always the best choice and accenting with décor with more bold colors is a good compromise.  But even when using neutral colors, don’t forget to test run your choices prior to committing…what may look great in the store will not necessarily look great with the lighting in your home!

DON’T:  Sacrifice function.  There is ALWAYS a way to make something functional and make it appear like it is meant to be there so don’t feel like you need to go without that outlet or wider doorway to make your home look more esthetically pleasing.  Functional trumps all!

DON’T:  Buy materials too early or get exactly enough.  Wait to buy the perfect flooring and other materials until the project plans are finalized and the project is far enough along for measurements to be accurate. Otherwise, you risk buying the wrong quantities of materials or ordering products that no longer fit the plan!  But make sure to order enough material to complete the job, plus 20% to account for installation wastage and defects (They were either short on the white or black tile below…I can’t tell!)

DO:  Time your renovation right.  Renovation projects are notorious for running over schedule, often through no one’s fault.  Weather can delay projects; necessary materials can be on back order; subcontractors can get sick; tricky wiring can take longer than expected. It’s wise to just expect there will be delays, so plan the renovation with ample time if you have a “due date,” such as house guests coming or a special trip that will take you out of town.

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