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6 Largest Home Improvement Mistakes

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Not Setting a Realistic Budget
Photo credit: reynermedia / Flickr

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Many home improvement projects can be rewarding. If you are not prepared, however, you could find yourself making one of the six largest home improvement mistakes.

These mistakes include the following:

  • Not setting a realistic budget;
  • Ignoring local building codes;
  • Not knowing your own limits;
  • Not reviewing contracts;
  • Managing your own project;
  • Failure to Obtain References.

All home improvement projects have their ups and downs, and no one is immune to making these mistakes. However, it’s better to learn from other peoples’ mistakes than having to learn from your own.

6. Not Setting a Realistic Budget

Home improvement projects typically cost more than homeowners expect. As a safeguard, you should expect to spend about 10% to 15% more than your initial budget.

Adhering to your budget instead of making frequent changes will reduce financial problems for both you and your contractors. The primary challenges in establishing a realistic budget for a home improvement project are estimating the length of time required to complete the project and anticipating problems, according to Ideal Home Garden.

Common problems with your budget include obtaining an accurate cost for materials and the number of hours a contractor will actually require to complete the project. Your best strategy is therefore to create a budget with multiple options for labor and materials.

The cost of materials typically comprises a major portion of your budget, so it’s essential to ensure you don’t overpay for materials. If your contractors are going to purchase materials, you need to know their source. You also need to ensure that the materials that you paid for will be the ones that the contractor actually uses.

Review the receipts periodically to prevent a contractor from charging you for more expensive materials, but using cheaper materials. You should also consider the maintenance costs and life expectancy of building materials in addition to its initial cost.

Hidden problems that aren’t apparent until the work begins are also typical reasons for exceeding your budget, especially for older houses. Rust and general wear are common age-related issues with an older house that you’re trying to renovate.

More serious problems typically include structural issues such as cracked foundations, leaky pipes and corroded wiring. Damage from termites can also be difficult to detect before starting your home improvement project. Cost increases due to weather are especially difficult to anticipate due to their unpredictable nature.

Home improvement projects typically cost more than homeowners expect. As a safeguard, you should expect to spend about 10% to 15% more than your initial budget.

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