So, you did it!  You bought a house.  Now, there may be a renovation in your future.  As a professional interior designer in Bergen County, NJ, I council my clients to have a discussion before they start their project.  What are the most common blunders you can make? 

There are big DON’Ts. 

Don’t do these:

Don’t start too soon.

Live in the house for a while before you overhaul it.  See how the house is before you change what you don’t like.  You need to see how the sun, rain and even the snow falls before you make new plans.

Don’t underestimate.

It will cost more and take longer to accomplish what you want to do than you expect.  A good way to prepare is to add about 20% to everything—your budget and the timeline.  If you beat the odds, what a nice surprise!

Don’t expect smooth going all the way.

Renovation equals unforeseen events. If your building is older, it is a given.  Be prepared for the unexpected.

I have lots of stories for you!

Don’t hesitate on hiring a designer from the start.

If you are going to spend big bucks, you should make sure that you’re working on a correctly designed plan.  It is a small amount cost wise compared to the total payout.

Don’t hire a person who is not a good fit.

Listening skills and curiosity are super important.  You and your selected person need to be on the same wavelength.  Of course, creativity, thinking outside the box, and business talent are all important factors too.

Don’t forget to get the general contractor involved in the beginning.

Going over the plans at the schematic phase rather than at the end of the planning stage will help save you money.  Bringing in the contractor who will perform the work gives you an idea if your dreams are in the same ballpark as your budget.  Better to know that before you fall in love with a plan that is out of range.  You may get some useful tips in the process.

Don’t go ahead unless you totally understand the plan.

Most people don’t truly understand how to read a blueprint.  Make sure you get what is going to happen.  Use tape if you must visualize and see how things will fit.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think it is dumb!  It is important that you “get it”.

Don’t make changes after the contract is secured and work has begun.

It costs lots of money to change things in the field especially after one trade is finished and must come back to make that change.  Even moving a light switch entails many other changes that impact that decision.  So, review and review to make sure everything will be as you want it to be before you start.

Don’t forget to set a timeline.

Purchasing items that go into the project such as flooring or plumbing fixtures are important.  These items must be chosen and on site before they are needed to ensure smooth progress.  You need to know if what you picked is back ordered six months!! Oh no!

That is why the contractor needs to present a timeline for all parties involved.

Here’s one more tip: 

Don’t forget to fix the outside first.

If there are leaks in the roof, you want to make sure that is taken care of before you install a new floor!  So, inspect to ensure all is good first.

There is much more to renovating a home than this simple outline of Don’ts!  If you need more help or advice, please give us a call!  We can certainly help you with your projects.