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5 Ways To Avoid A Renovation Nightmare

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Are you thinking about a home renovation? There are all kinds of reasons why you should, especially when you’re trying to get closer to the home of your dreams.

You could extend your kitchen if you want to create a dining area. You could insulate your property to give you a warmer home in the winter. And you could create extra living space, perhaps with a basement conversion or a new loft design. These are just a few ideas, but you will undoubtedly have your own. When the renovation work is complete, you will be able to enjoy the results of your expense. That’s good news, right?

Well…here’s the thing! While a renovation can often be a good idea, problems can arise. A dream home can be yours but if care isn’t taken, you could end up with a renovation nightmare! You need to do all you can to avoid any problem scenarios, so consider our suggestions below. 

#1: Don’t take on every job yourself

When it comes to changing lightbulbs, painting walls, and replacing wallpaper, your talents might be the best in the neighbourhood. Heck, you should probably be granted an award for your skills with a hammer and a picture hook! But there are some things you probably aren’t talented at unless you have years of training and experience behind you. 

Knocking down walls with a sledgehammer is probably ill-advised if you have never done it before. You might only bring the house crashing down around you. And fiddling with your home’s electrical panels is something you really shouldn’t consider either, as you could be in for a very nasty shock if you do! If you take on jobs you aren’t skilled in, you could damage both yourself and your home, so curb your enthusiasm!  Some household projects are better left to the professionals, so while you can save money by doing some jobs yourself, be sure to stick to your skillset. 

#2: Research local contractors

Now that we have established the dangers of doing everything yourself, you know that it’s sometimes better to seek professional help. However, you need to commit to research as you don’t want to hire somebody who will either scam you or leave your home in a worst state than it was at the outset. 

So, don’t hire the first Tom, Dick, or Harry (other names are available for contractors) that you see with a plank of wood in one hand and a sledgehammer in the other. Don’t be fooled by the salesman swagger of a contractor who comes to your door with the promise of a cheap deal. Do your homework, and this means checking reviews online, asking for recommendations from friends and family, and asking for proof of the contractor’s credentials. Check out this article on how to spot a rogue trader too, as you will avoid being a victim of a scam if you follow the advice within. 

#3: Don’t pay everything upfront

After hiring somebody to work on your home, don’t assume you have to pay them upfront for work that hasn’t been done yet. Payments should usually be made in stages or on completion of the project, so if you’re asked to cough up funds before work has commenced, say no! This is to protect you because you don’t want to pay for work that might be shoddy and not in line with your vision. And you don’t want to pay somebody who might take the money and run!

So, set a payment schedule with the contractor, and pin him or her down to how much you will be expected to pay. They may not be able to give you an exact cost at the outset but they should be able to give you a ballpark figure. If you’re happy, get a contract-in-writing before work goes ahead. The contractor might present you with one themselves, but you could also create your own, perhaps with the help of a solicitor if needed. Download example contracts here

#4:Know what you want before work commences

Be sure about what you want at the outset. If you don’t, you might only cause financial trouble for yourself if you change your mind mid-way through the project and ask your contractor to make changes. You might suddenly decide you want hardwood flooring instead of lino in your kitchen, for example, or you might decide on a different wall design when you’re renovating your bathroom. You need to take such things into careful consideration before the project begins. 

Now, small changes won’t matter. There might even be things you can change yourself if your life and home aren’t in danger when doing so. For all other things, however, beware. You will incur the costs of extra materials if your renovation plans change. You will also delay the contractor so you will have to pay for more of their time. If the contractor has other deadlines to meet, you might also have to live with an unfinished renovation project if they aren’t able to be at your beck and call 24/7. So, as far as you can, be clear about what you want at the beginning, as you will save yourself a headache down the line. 

#5: Renovate at the right time

When is the right time to renovate your home? Well, it probably won’t be when your kids are in exam season, as they won’t be able to study when noise is going on around them. It won’t be the right time if you aren’t able to be at home very often, as you will need to keep an eye on the work that is happening. And it definitely won’t be the right time when you don’t have all of the funds needed to complete the project. 

When planning a renovation project, plan for a time when it will cause less disruption for you  and your family. And only get the ball rolling when you have raised money for your home improvements. You will make life easier for yourself if you do, and you will reduce the risk of a renovation nightmare.

So, there you have it, 5 ways to avoid a renovation nightmare. Follow these tips and everything should go smoothly… well, as smoothly as it can when you’re knee-deep in dust and listening to the sound of drilling!

Thanks for reading, and good luck with your renovation!

Photo by Callum Hill & Kelly Sikkemaon Unsplas

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