Yes, you read that correctly! For my very first blog post we are going to dive deep into the Top 5 reasons that you definitely, positively, absolutely, in no way shape or form should you ever hire a contractor and complete a remodeling project in your home. Now this may seem like a really silly thing for the owner of a remodeling firm to be writing about. Here is the reality of it, everyone already knows that doing a remodel on your home is extremely risky business. Why shouldn't we have an open discussion about the white elephant in the room, why shouldn't I be forthcoming and honest about the truths of remodeling your home? I live through nearly every one of these Top 5 issues on at least a weekly basis. I'm trying to help my customers see the light at the end of the tunnel. So without further adieu here are the top 5 reasons that you most definitely do not want to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or any other part of your home unless you really, really have to!
It almost always takes longer than expected!
On almost every project we work one of the very first questions to come up is "When can you start and how long will it take?". But you know what the honest truth is "I really don't know!". Sure I have some idea of how long it will take, that is of course how I estimated the price of the job. But can I give you a definitive start and end date...nope. If anyone tells you otherwise they would be lying.
To better understand why a project almost always takes longer than expected lets look at the start of the job. First off we have to make sure that all plans and designs are approved and will actually work within the space. In reality, most designs on paper don't always translate well to a real working environment. Once you finalize plans and all is looking well, the next phase is the real time killer.....the Weather!
So you are finally ready to break ground on that new addition for the kitchen of your dreams. You have spent months designing, having meetings, choosing the right contractor, and it looks as if all the stars are aligned. It is Sunday night, you can hardly contain your excitement that you are breaking ground the following day, just as the rain moves in...ugh! Your contractor now notifies you that the project won't be starting until the ground drys up as you can't pour concrete. You scramble to look at the weather and it doesn't look good for the rest of the week. OK, no big deal you think, but your contractor had to keep his employees busy during this interference, so they went and worked at an inside job and wont be back until that job is finished. As you can see this can quickly turn into a domino effect and now your project from the very start is already 2 weeks behind.
Let's say your project may not be affected by outdoor weather, you would think it would make it easier to schedule. In theory you would be correct, but it isn't always the case. Let's say your contractor is currently wrapping up a job for another client of his when suddenly that client decides to change or add about 1 more week of work. It certainly doesn't make any sense for him to leave that job, come to yours, then go back when yours is done. Nor would you want said contractor to do this to you should you decide to do additional work.
As you can see there are quite a few variables that can affect your projects timeline. What he have touched on here is just the tip of the iceberg! There are many factors that can cause delays on your project, and that is just one more reason why you really need to think long and hard about your next project. Are you ready for the constant unknown and unreliable schedules?
Your home will be a mess!
Let's face it, construction is dirty, dusty, messy, and quite frankly it is almost unbearable. Yes they make zip walls, HEPA vacuums, floor protections, and even air scrubbers. We have and do use all of these things, but no matter what, your house is going to be a mess while you do your renovation.
The tidiest of contractors have to make some dust in order to get to the finished product. Even the best dust free saws and high end containment systems don't stop it all from spreading around your home. Not to mention that you will have lots of workers traipsing around your house in their dirty boots. Of course you can ask that everyone wear booties, but I am going to let you in on a little secret, when your not looking they won't. People in the trades make so many trips in and out of your home it would waste a lot of time taking booties on and off...and Time is Money.
So face it, if you want to do any sort of remodeling project on your home its going to be a mess. Most likely it will spread to other parts of your house outside of the project limits. The final project is worth it but living in a mess can feel less than appealing.
You have finally settled in on a contractor, your project is underway and the team working on your house is doing demo work to expand your kitchen. What could possibly go wrong at this point? Well as the team removes drywall they uncover some structural issues that need to be fixed before moving forward. Cha-ching, just like that you are already spending and extra $6000.00 on top of your original budget.
This very reason is why we always inform our clients to have at least a 20% contingency fund set aside. I don't believe I can recall a project that a client has not ended up going at least slightly over budget. Even when it isn't an issue of discovering unforeseen problems, most people will end up adding extras along the way, or decide to splurge on a selection item.
In the end I can almost guarantee you that you will end up spending more money than you expected. So please, before you think about finishing off your basement, remember that you were warned!
Let's face it, life is stressful. You most likely already have some combination of work, kids, bills, cleaning, appointments, etc., and now you want to add a home remodel on top of all of that. What are you crazy?!
Working through a remodel involves a lot of work, in fact its almost like having a full time job. There are meetings to go over your selections and design ideas. Keeping track of your budget can be daunting, not to mention reading and signing lots and lots of contracts and documents. Inevitably you will get calls at work or in the evening to discuss problems. This can all really take its toll on your life, your marriage, your relationship with your children and your productivity at work.
Next time you are discussing your new master bathroom, just remember that you are signing up for months of double the stress that you are used to, which can be a heavy price to pay.
It will not make your home more valuable
Think spending $75,000.00 on a new kitchen will make your house worth $75,000.00 more. Think again. It is extremely rare that you will ever get the money that you invest in your home back out at resale. Yes there are some rare cases where this isn't true, but the majority of the time the only real value you will see is the enjoyment you get out of your renovation project.
First off, you as the homeowner are not a real estate investor. That business is extremely cut throat and properties are bought through cash deals for very low relative costs. Most real estate investors act as there own general contractors, obviously this saves cost. I know what your thinking....why not be your own general contractor for your project? Most likely this is a very bad idea! A general contractor is a full time job that takes years to gain the experience and relationships to be able to run a job smoothly from start to finish.
Although this article may seem slightly satirical, its content is nothing but true. While of course I don't want people to never renovate their home again, I do feel it is helpful for them to know what to expect when they are thinking about their next renovation. We as contractors do our very best to make all of these problems as benign as possible, but the truth is that at one time or another these things will rear their ugly little heads and you should be prepared for them. In most cases, the end result is worth all of the stress you underwent to get there! One of my favorite examples of this was when a client compared a large remodel to being pregnant. His analogy was such, that once its all done you kind of forget about the pain or stress and want to do it all over again! Sometimes understanding the stress of a situation before it arrives can make the actual present stresses more manageable. I hope this helps you when you start to plan the next project on your home!