Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Top 5 mistakes in 2014 by homeowners when renovating

Top 5 mistakes in 2014 by homeowners when renovating

1. Big Box kitchens.

The biggest mistake that is becoming more common among homeowners in 2014 was the buying of box store kitchen cabinets at the lowest possible prices and then having their renovation contractor install them. The reason that people did this was to save money, what they did achieve is to save money on their cabinets but sacrifice on the overall quality, function and fit/finish of the kitchen.

The difference in kitchen cabinets between a big box store and a cabinet maker is the quality of not only the cabinets but also all the hardware in the kitchen (hinges, lazy suzines, pot drawers, ie).

One of the other problems with buying a kitchen from a big box store is that you are attempting to install a bunch of standard cabinets into a space that is usually not a standard size. This means that you end up having to sacrifice cabinet and storage space because you can’t find cabinets that will match exactly to the space. Cabinet makers will make every cabinet in your kitchen to fit so that there is absolutely no lose of space or need to compromise on the functionality of the kitchen. Remember that we are talking about renovating your kitchen not installing cabinets in a brand new home where you have a lot more room to adjust the space for the cabinets to fit.

2. Homeowners hiring their own sub-contractors.

Homeowners that go out and find a general contractor to remodel their home or parts of their home will spend hours researching and meeting with them to make sure that they are the right contractor for them but then will hire their own sub-contractors to do some of the work. Most homeowners do this because they believe that they can save themselves money by hiring an electrician or plumber instead of allowing the general contractor to hire them. The money that is saved is the fee that the general contractor puts on top of the electricians or plumbers bill for organizing, supervising and guaranteeing their workmanship.

What this does is cause scheduling problems for your renovation project. When a homeowner hires their own trades the general contractor is forced to rely on the homeowner to organize their hired trades. This can cause confusion as the general contractor cannot give a lot of direction to the homeowner hired trades as they don’t work for them and have no contact with them. This causes a loss of time on the project and can also cost the homeowner money when things need to be redone or the homeowner’s trades show up on the wrong day or time. This also leaves the paying of the bill to these homeowner hired sub trades up to the homeowner, the general contractor has no ability to help their client with payment disputes.

3. Lack of interior designers.

Many homeowners this year refused to pay for an interior designer to help layout and design their bathrooms, kitchens and other areas of the home that they were planning to renovate. They did this usually thinking that they would save money by designing the spaces themselves instead of paying someone else to do it.

What this usually ends up doing is costing the homeowner more money when their design doesn’t work out like they thought it would and changes are required to make the design work better. Those changes cost time and money. The money is paying sub contractors to redo or move things, when things are changed by the homeowner because the actual layout looked different in their minds eye compared to what they saw what it looked like in the room in real life. The time is when they have to find their own finishes instead of an interior designer doing that for them, homeowners have jobs and lives of their own and really don’t have the time to do all the choosing of finishing’s in the timeline that their contractor requires them too. This usually ends up with homeowners settling for something that they don't really want but don't have the time or the connections to find out what they really want.

4. Homeowners fear of change.

There is always a fear for homeowners who have lived in a home for many years to change the way the home functions or looks. A lot of homeowners end up paralyzed when being forced to make changes to a home that they have become accustomed too.

Some homeowners will even pay for designers to reorganize a room and then when they see what the new room will look like on paper they change it basically back to way it was because they are not comfortable with the change. Since most homes that require renovation have not been changed for decades it creates a problem as homeowners have a problem with trendy modern finishes that are readily available today. They end up taking large amounts of time and energy making even the simplest decisions.

5. The reuse instead of replace.

In an attempt to save money in the short term homeowners elect to reuse a lot of fixtures and finishes during their renovation. What sounds like a smart thing to do usually ends up costing more money in the long term. For example some homeowners will have a bathroom renovation completed and reuse the twenty year old toilet because it still works. The problem with this thinking is that a toilet basically has a lifespan of about twenty years, that means that the toilet in the near future will likely fail and have to be replaced. It will cost more money for a plumber to come out and install a new toilet at the later time then for the plumber to install a new one while they are onsite installing all the other fixtures during the renovation. Older finishes like’s toilets use more water which costs the homeowner money. The same principle goes for reusing older lights; they use more energy than new lights and eventually will require replacing.

These where the biggest mistakes that I witnessed homeowners make in 2014 while renovating, the theme that you will notice that links all of them is that they all have to do with the homeowner attempting to save money immediately and not looking at the long term costs that will occur during the project and well after it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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