Even though some people have a rather casual approach to it, renovation is not something to be approached lightly. If you aren’t careful, you can quickly spend tons of money on it, so your investment no longer makes up for the improvements your home experiences.
This is especially bad if you plan to renovate to sell your home for a better price. And most of these expenses come from aspects of renovations that most people overlook at first. To properly work around there, we’ve put together a guide on unwanted home renovation expenses and how to avoid them.
In this article:
Draft a budget first
The first step to identifying unwanted home renovation expenses and how to avoid them is always to have a firmly set budget. When you get into the swing of work and the chaos of renovation, it can be very easy to overstep your set boundaries.
Even if you can organize your garage on a budget, the easy and quick but costlier methods win out. On the other hand, with a proper budget and a hard limit on your resources, you’ll feel much less tempted to cut corners.
Of course, while having a set budget is important, there is one thing that will always be impossible to prevent: sudden expenses. In these cases, it’s best to set some money aside as an emergency fund. Just make sure to actually dip it into it for emergencies only rather than give into frivolous spending! Otherwise, it’s a good way to waste your money.
The legal concerns
There are two different reasons why you must pay proper attention to the legal requirements of your city and state when doing a renovation. First, committing to a renovation to find out you need many permits is a costly surprise.
Second, suppose you are caught doing renovation without permits or have made alterations without getting the permits already.
In that case, inspectors are within their right to force you to take down any renovation work and do it all over again.
This a massive waste of money, time, and resources, and not many people can easily weather and continue their renovation work. This is one of the costliest unwanted home renovation expenses you can encounter, so it should be no surprise that it’s also the one you want to avoid the most.
Sometimes, unwanted home renovation expenses happen because of the professionals you hire. There are two extremes of the spectrum here. First, you have people who hire too many separate people.
Hiring painting services, a plumber, and a handyperson so that you can have someone better at a particular job performed is hardly ideal. Depending on its complexity, you would just be wasting money on three people when the handyman likely could have done all the work.
On the other hand, you have people who do the opposite—in other words, trying to hire a handyperson or similar for a highly specialized job, such as installing wiring or something of the kind. There is a delicate balance to be struck here, and if you go too far in either direction, you lose money. Or worse, run the risk of damaging your home due to unprofessional help!
Appliance and device installation
Some appliances require professional help to install. So, even though there are many home renovation ideas for families, you can try different options for some of them once you’ve settled on those you want. Particularly the organization of individual rooms; you should not change it lightly.
An excellent example of this is ACs and water filters. An amateur can install neither of these. Even handypersons can struggle with their installation, especially with water filters. Changing your mind about room allotment once they’ve been put in is a massive waste of your money.
You’d even get charged for removing them, too! Not to mention the risk of something getting damaged when moving things around, necessitating replacing the device or appliance entirely.
The surprising drawbacks of DIY
You may think that you can save on expenses and totally game the system just by engaging in some DIY. Sometimes, this is true.
If you are planning to knock down a wall and then have a new home feature added, you can conceivably do the demolition yourself. However, what if there is wiring in that wall, and you never knew? What about plumbing? Alternatively, what if the wall you are trying to destroy is load-bearing? You can easily cause damage that would take hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to fix.
All because you decided to save money through DIY. Obviously, this would then count as unwanted renovation expenses! Thankfully, avoiding such costs is as simple as logically gauging when you can engage in DIY and when it is best to leave things up to professionals. Generally, if you’re not sure you can handle it, best leave it alone.
You will always, always use up more material than you’d think. And not even due to accidents! For example, let’s take replacing or adding tiles to your bathroom for the first time. You do some measures, get a professional estimate, and buy exactly as many tiles as you’d need to cover that square footage.
And then, in order to fit them into corners, bends, and other awkward spots, you have to cut some, chip away bits, or similar. Suddenly, those bits need to be discarded, and you are actually running low on the material before you’re close to done.
Then you need to make an emergency trip to the store. While hoping they still have those same tiles still in stock. And, of course, chances are that accidents will happen too. Simply put, one of the first things you’ll learn about home renovation is that things often don’t go to plan.
Similarly, you definitely bet that you should err on the side of caution when buying some materials. Here, let’s take painting as an example. Ideally, your walls shouldn’t take too many layers of paint to be properly covered. However, some walls require much more work due to the way they have been treated in the past.
Wallpaper makes things tricky if the past owners of your home hadn’t scraped it off but rather just painted over it. Or, in rarer cases, people choose to paint their walls with a ‘wetter’ paint. This is fine at first and gives walls a nice, glistening look.
However, it is an absolute pain to paint over and is guaranteed to require more coats than originally estimated. Or you’d have to pay additional expenses to have it all scraped off. Other materials follow this same pattern, such as somehow always needing more cement than estimated.
There is a very nice ‘trick’ to follow when purchasing materials. Namely, if you purchase things one by one and when you absolutely need them, you are technically generating unwanted home renovation expenses.
This is because it is so much cheaper to buy things in bulk! Because of the volume of shopping you’re doing; sellers will typically offer a discount for bulk purchases. This means that you can save considerable amounts of money depending on just how large your renovation project is.
Now, admittedly, this has much less effect on smaller projects. But it’s a nice way to offset the concerns over material consumption and waste, which we’ve already discussed. If you can afford to buy a bit more of those materials than planned, then you wouldn’t need to worry about missing them later! And you’d also avoid having to pay additional transportation fees, be it in fuel or services.
Whether you decide to buy in bulk or not, you will always run into the same issue: storage. The trick here is balancing your needs with your expenses. If you are buying smaller amounts of materials, then it may be possible to store them within your home.
However, if your renovation project is a big one, this becomes impossible. Your only option would be to leave things in your yard, and then you are risking theft. And this is without even taking into account the possibility of the materials getting ruined without proper storage.
Some materials result in unwanted home renovation expenses because they spoil in high or low temperatures. Even the experts from Verified Movers emphasize the importance of picking the right type of storage for your needs. In other words, it costs you less, in the end, to rent out climate-controlled storage than to replace materials!
Renovation is a very messy business. Especially if you’ve decided to do renovation in parts so that you can continue living in your home, this might seem like a perfect solution that allows you to entirely bypass the costs of finding lodging elsewhere.
However, unless you take proper steps to prevent it, you’ll be hit by entirely different unwanted home renovation expenses. Namely, you’ll need to have a lot of your belongings and the rest of your home professionally cleaned.
You see, people tend to think that just moving stuff to a different room will work as protection. It won’t. Dust and debris particles get around nearly everything. Doors or cardboard boxes are almost entirely useless.
This can contaminate entire rooms with dust before you realize what’s happening, especially if they’re close to the renovation site. Seal them in plastic containers or use vacuum-sealing bags to protect your stuff.
You can entirely avoid some unwanted home renovation expenses with proper planning. We touched briefly upon this when discussing DIY. If you rush blindly into a renovation, it can do more harm than good.
Some parts of a home need to be engineered and planned exceptionally meticulously. An example would be trying to add light switches or even messing around with plumbing. Either of these endeavors could cost far more to fix than you’d even spend on the renovation in the first place.
After all, if badly laid wiring sparks or causes an outage, then your devices could end up fried, or you might be held responsible for causing the blackout in the first place. Both require professionals to step in and draw up plans before you can even start fully organizing your renovation.
The cost of maintenance
The final of the unwanted home renovation expenses does not come out during renovation time itself. Instead, it is something that you’ll only feel the effects of later. Let’s say, for example, that you have spent your life with one of the different types of laminate flooring in your home. So now you want to try something new, and carpets sound like a great idea. You have all your flooring replaced, and at first, you are perfectly happy with your choice.
However, you will quickly find out just how much time and effort goes into keeping carpets in good condition. Especially if they are very fluffy and comfy, which makes dirt get so deeply embedded in them that it’s practically impossible to clean up on your own.
In this case, you’d need to spend money regularly on professional cleaning. Always remember you need to live with the consequences of your renovation!
Now that you know how to avoid unwanted home renovation expenses, you can start planning yourself. As you can tell from our guide, the main thing to never skip is the prep work that begins well before the renovation itself.
Whether budgeting, planning for which professionals to hire, or getting consultations about what renovations would be a clever idea, everything relies on putting in enough time and effort. You cannot expect proper returns on your material investments if you aren’t ready to invest your time into them, too!