Home improvements have the potential to increase your investment property’s value. For example, remodeling your kitchen results in a return on investment (ROI) of around 54 percent. Similarly, adding a bathroom increases a single-family home’s value by 5.7 percent.
Home improvement projects are exciting. You get to re-envision and redesign your dream home. Unfortunately, they can turn into a nightmare in an instant.
To make sure that you stay within your budget and that your contractor doesn’t do a “hack job”, keep reading. In this article, we’ll share with you some of the common home improvement mishaps and how to avoid them.
Common Home Improvement Nightmares
Regardless of the amount of preparation you’ve put into the project, if things can go wrong, they will go wrong. Check out some of the common problems that homeowners have experienced with their home improvement projects:
#1 When the contractor up-and-leaves
Maybe your contractor found a better-paying job, or maybe they just aren’t willing to work with you anymore. Whatever the reason, when your contractor leaves, your project will be weeks behind schedule. So, if you were hoping to spend the summer swimming in your new pool, you have no other choice but to change your plans.
The solution? Let your contractor sign an iron-clad contract that states that they should complete the work within the schedule, or else they’ll have to pay specific penalties. If you’ve hired a property management company, ask their in-house attorney to help prepare a contract that will tie the contractor to the job.
#2 When you go over budget
You should expect to spend more than your initial estimate. A small kitchen can cost you around $4,000 to remodel, while a luxury kitchen can cost as much as $50,000. As a rule of thumb, you should add 20% to your budget for unexpected expenses. So, if your initial estimate is $10,000, you should expect to spend $12,000 on your home improvement project.
What’s important is that you don’t go over budget. This means not making a spur-of-the-moment decision. Here’s what you should do:
- Don’t make changes in the middle of the project. Let’s say your contractor already laid down the ceramic tiles, but you don’t like the way it looks, so you replace them with hardwood floors. For reference, ceramic tiles cost around $1.5 to $5 per square foot, while hardwood costs $15 per square foot. That’s a lot of time and money wasted.
- Don’t forget the details. If your home improvement project involves replacing the windows, don’t just factor in the cost to install windows. You should also consider the cost to replace window frames and the current cost of labor.
- Negotiate a fixed fee. If your contractor tells you that they’ll just “see how it goes”, you shouldn’t hire them. You should always negotiate a fixed fee with your contractor. This ensures that you’ll pay a predetermined price regardless of how complicated the job turns out to be.
- Hire a property manager. A property manager will make sure that you don’t spend more than you should. Aside from supervising the project, they’ll keep a close eye on your expenses so make sure you don’t end up with an empty wallet.
#3 When the contractor does a “hack job”
A “hack job” is when something is done quickly at the expense of quality. This is all too common in the construction industry. When your contractor completes the job, you discover that things aren’t what you expected. Tiles are cracked, cabinets don’t close, windows don’t open, and so on. Fortunately, poor execution can be avoided.
At the start of the project, set parameters in your contract. Let your contractor know exactly what you want them to do. In addition, add a clause in the contract that states that the contractor should fix any issues without any additional cost.
#4 When the project is taking too long
Let’s say you started remodeling your kitchen in January. Six months pass and there’s still no significant progress. Your contractor seems to be taking their time, but your expenses are already piling up since you’ve had to live at an Airbnb for the past six months.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to put together a timeline. Start by setting a completion date and work backward from there. During this stage, your contractor should be involved to determine how long it would likely take them to complete the project. Your timeline should be realistic and keep you within your budget.
Tips for a Successful Home Improvement Project
A home improvement project can be overwhelming, but it can be a success if you follow these tips and tricks:
- Work with experienced contractors. Hire contractors who’ve been in the industry for more than three years. It’s also advisable to hire a contractor who’s a member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
- Visit the site. Make sure you visit your home during the remodel. This lets you build rapport with your contractor and the construction team. Visiting the site also lets you check if they’re maintaining a clean work site so that you don’t get in trouble with the homeowners association.
- Think of the resale value. Don’t redesign or remodel for the sake of aesthetics. It’s important to plan and keep your home’s resale value in mind. Design a place that will still sell in five to ten years.
- Communicate constantly. Let your contractor know if there are things that don’t meet your expectations. This gives them ample time to address the issue. Before the start of the project, be sure to get your contractor’s phone number so that you can keep each other updated.
By following the tips above, your home improvement project will be a success. Everything will go smoothly as long as you plan ahead and express your expectations.
If you’re looking for an expert contractor, reach out to Luxury Property Care. We are a group of property managers with decades of experience in the real estate industry. We’ve established a network of reputable contractors, architects, and designers who can complete your project for a reasonable price.