Tips & AdviceMistakes to Avoid When Renovating Your Home

Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating Your Home

The right remodeling project can add beauty and instant value if your home needs a refresh. You may have heard the age-old home remodeling tips claiming that popular renovations, such as a kitchen or bathroom update, can help a home sell faster. While kitchens and bathroom projects rank high among homebuyers, a wide array of other updates can also impact the look of your home. A small change such as new paint or an updated front door adds value with a lower upfront cost and much less hassle than tearing apart your kitchen.

How to Add Value Through Home Remodeling

If you’re interested in beautifying your home and adding value, consider popular home renovation trends and today’s most sought-after homebuyer features. According to the 2022 Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, exterior home improvements such as updated entryways, stone veneer, and new garage doors generate some of the greatest returns on investment. Also, minor home renovations, such as a scaled-back kitchen remodel, may offer more bang for the buck than larger, high-end installations.

Exterior Projects to Consider

Passers-by may judge your home solely on curb appeal. Although changes like new garage doors may not seem like the most glamorous update, they can significantly impact the look of your home, providing a more cohesive image for potential homebuyers. Consider using your renovation budget for an exterior project to create a positive first impression. Walk around your property and seek out potential areas of improvement. What items could be updated or replaced? It may be worth your while to prioritize functionality over looks, where replacing the gutters or fixing the roof will provide more long-term value for a buyer.

When renovating on a budget, consider smaller exterior projects such as a door replacement or planting a new tree in a strategic location. If you want something grander, try adding stone, an exterior portico, or a backyard patio. When planning any exterior renovation, ensure you obtain the required permits and architectural approval from your homeowners association, if needed. Resist the temptation to jump in and start hammering away. A well-thought-out process can help you avoid the following potential mistakes:

Exterior Mistake 1: Changing the Grading

Consider how changes in landscaping or your exterior could redirect water flow around your home. Failing to grade and level your yard can result in water infiltration during a heavy storm or snow melt. Excess water can damage your home’s exterior and yard and potentially flood your home.

Exterior Mistake 2: Making too drastic of a change

Your remodeled home should still fit into the scheme of the neighborhood. Making too many changes could elevate the value of your property past the amount of what buyers typically spend to live in your area. Aesthetically, any changes you make should generally remain consistent with the architectural style of your home and the properties around you.

Exterior Mistake 3. Failing to consider long-term maintenance

When choosing exterior materials, focus on those that hold up best in your climate. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you truly have to keep up with your exterior. Extensive landscaping looks beautiful when planted, but you’ll need to water and trim them to prevent overgrowth. Don’t spend a lot of money on something that you’re not prepared to maintain.

Exterior Mistake 4: Picking a project that doesn’t add much value

If adding value is your goal, do your research. Exterior-wise, installing stone or fiber cement siding may generate a higher return on investment than a backyard deck. Swimming pools can be tricky, as not every homebuyer wants one, especially in climates with limited hot weather.

One caveat: A high return on investment may not be your top goal when renovating your home. If you’ve always wanted a swimming pool, or if you’re the type of person who enjoys outdoor living spaces, a lower-return project may still have immeasurable value for you.

Small Scale Interior Projects

Smaller scale interior projects can make an outsized impact on the beauty of your home. A modern paint color, updated flooring, or new bath fixtures serve as examples of projects that can be used to refresh your home on a limited budget. If you’re thinking about listing your home, small updates that increase value might help you attract an interested buyer. Depending on the age and condition of your home, you may be more likely to recoup an investment in a minor bath or kitchen project such as updating drawer pulls or purchasing a single appliance, rather than gutting the entire space and totally replacing everything in your kitchen.

Of course, even with small projects, a potential for error exists. Keep these smaller house remodeling mistakes to avoid in mind:

Small Interior Mistake 1: DIY-ing when you lack expertise or skills

Switching a faucet or light fixture might seem like an easy project, but when complications arise, you may regret your choice to DIY. If you lack home repair skills, call a plumber or electrician. Otherwise, you could run into issues that cause more severe problems, which could very well make the project even more expensive. Before diving into a project, do some research online and try to watch a video or two. If the task seems daunting, you’re likely better of hiring a professional.

Small Interior Mistake 2: Picking an easy project that’s actually a complex project

Sometimes it pays to start with small fixes before moving on to bigger, more expensive ones. But before making the small fix, stop and consider all the potential underlying problems. Understand the scope of the work before you spend money to fix it. You don’t want to make a cosmetic repair only to have it ripped out and redone when a bigger problem presents itself a month or two later.

Small Interior Mistake 3: Underestimating your time to completion

Realistically measure the time it will take to complete your small renovation project. Compare the project time to the time you actually have available. How long can it take to paint one room? The answer to that question could vary based on the need for a primer and additional coats to cover up the existing color. You may also spend time patching holes and spackling. While you’re at it, you may decide to take on additional steps like painting the ceiling or switching out the windows. In no time, a small project could double in size and leave you stressed for time.

Large Scale Interior Projects

When you hear the words “home renovation”, you may picture a stunning new kitchen or a spa-like bathroom. Large-scale projects include an addition, a major bath or kitchen remodel, or installing a brand new high-efficiency heating system in your home. Considering the substantial financing required for most large scale renovations, homeowners should carefully plan out their remodelling ahead of time.

Large Interior Project Mistake 1: Not Setting a Budget

Homeowners most likely do not know the true cost of a renovation ahead of time and will need to conduct research, consult with potential construction companies, and set a budget that allows for things to go awry. Take the time to sift through the plethora of available information. While the variations of hardwood versus laminate or vinyl plank flooring may seem endless, it proves beneficial to understand what you’re heading into before you begin the project.

In the end, you may regret rushing to start a large project. Give yourself time to plan and select materials that fit into your budget. Determine how much you can truly afford to spend before you buy and whether you’ll need to take out a new loan or use a cash-out refinance.

Mistake 2: Failing to understand the true scope of the work

You may have a vision of what you want your home to look like, but do you know how you’ll get there? Rather than prioritizing cosmetic items, consider if you’ll need to move walls, rewire electrics, or make other changes to achieve the results you want. Add these changes to your renovation plan and discuss them with your contractor before you’ve gone past the point of no return.

Some renovations may require you to leave your home for some time. Before embarking on a lengthy project, ensure you establish a timeline and consult with your project team so everyone is on the same page.

Mistake 3: Going with the Cheapest Bid

When reviewing a contractor’s proposal, take note of the materials they recommend. Added features or better quality workmanship may be worth the extra cost. You may also consider spending more on items with smart home technology or security features. High efficiency systems or energy star rated appliances may cost more initially, but over time, you’ll save in utility costs.

Before you embark on a home remodel project, talk to several contractors. Ask for referrals and examples of their work. Ultimately, you may decide to go with the cheapest bid, but only after you’ve researched all of your options.


Your home reflects your personality and life-style. When the time comes to expand or spruce up your living space, you may decide to update your home or buy something new. If you stay in a home you love, a remodeled space can reflect a more modern design or add efficiency to your daily routine. Done correctly, a home renovation project will provide years of happiness and increase your property’s value.

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