Thinking about a home renovation? Join the club. Home-improvement projects are projected to hit a record this year - $155 billion. But before you start knocking down walls, make sure you plan carefully. Consumer Reports surveyed 300 general contractors who revealed some of the biggest mistakes homeowners make.
One of the biggest mistakes: Not solidifying the plan before the work begins. Fifty-nine percent surveyed by Consumer Reports said homeowner indecisiveness was at the top of their list. Changing your mind when the renovation is underway can really bust your budget.
Skipping a pre-renovation inspection is another common mistake. It helps you avoid unwanted surprises and let’s you adjust your budget.
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It’s also a mistake not to bargain. Thirty percent of the contractors surveyed said they were very willing to negotiate.
No matter what you think the renovation will cost, be sure to build in some padding. Assume your project will cost 20 percent more than you expect and take 20 percent longer than planned.
How long should you expect a renovation to take? Contractors in the Consumer Report’s survey said, on average, bathrooms take two weeks and kitchens take three.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.