The Top 6 Home Renovation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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One of the most exciting things about buying a new home is innovating different ways to make the space your own. Whether it’s adding a new deck or simply changing out the cabinet paint colours, renovations can be the shining factor that turns your house into a home. However, if you’ve learned anything from watching HGTV, you’ll know that these home renovations don’t always go according to plan.

When you purchase a Vancouver or Calgary home for sale, it’s best to plan ahead for home renovations so that you’re prepared for any surprises. That being said, what are some of the top home renovation mistakes and what are the best ways to avoid them? Follow along, and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful and efficiently renovated home in no time!

Not Having a Budget

One of the biggest home renovation mistakes new homeowners make is not creating a realistic budget (or not creating one at all) for their home repairs. Home renovations, even small ones, are costly and can add up quickly. Usually, when you are working on one project, you discover two or three more that need attention, and a budget allows you to consider whether those additional renovations are within your capability.

On average, residents with homes in Ontario spend an average of $13,603 per year on home renovations. Regardless of whether you spend half or three times that amount, you will want to consider the nature of the project, inflation levels, and the supply chain for the specific resources you need when creating your budget. Depending on the project, you may realize it’s best to hold off on certain renovations and work on others in the meantime.

How to Avoid:

The best way to avoid going over budget or recklessly spending is to plan to create a home renovation budget. Make a list of all your home renovation projects in order of importance, research your prioritized renovation, determine an approximate cost, and incorporate extra space in your budget for unexpected costs.

If you are doing a DIY project for your home, the best way to avoid this home renovation mistake is to be realistic with your capabilities and allocate a room in your budget for unforeseen issues and extra supplies. If you are hiring someone to do your renovation, get multiple quotes from different contractors in your area to determine what you will realistically pay for the renovation. We recommend setting your budget on the higher side of the price spectrum to prepare for unforeseen, additional costs.

Going With the Cheapest Contractor

Speaking of contractors, another common home renovation mistake is going with the first or cheapest contractor you find. It’s important to stick to your budget when hiring a contractor or outside company to do home renovations, but the price often reflects the work’s quality. A cheaper contractor may be less experienced or use low-quality materials to cut corners when doing the job. A poor renovation can cause an annoying and expensive problem in the near future.

How to Avoid:

With that said, how do you know when a contractor is affordable AND legit? Getting quotes from at least three different contractors for each home renovation project and interviewing each one are the best ways to avoid this home renovation mistake. Here are some possible questions to ask your potential contractors:

  • Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How long have they been in the business?
  • Have they done projects like this before?
  • Do they have any references for you to reach out to?

A qualified contractor estimate should include project details, permit costs, insurance, general fees, and a warranty on the work. If your estimate doesn’t have all these details, the contractor could be guessing on how much it’ll cost or simply not qualified enough to provide a thorough quote.

Being Too Trendy

One of the most common home renovation mistakes we see in the age of social media is basing home remodels off of quickly-changing trends. We know it’s tempting to jump on Pinterest and replicate the newest trends in kitchen shelving or bathroom tiling, but resist that temptation!

When it comes to paint colours and small, temporary projects, doing a little trendy renovation doesn’t hurt. However, if you base your entire kitchen structure on a fleeting trend, your real estate agent will let you know it’ll be out of style by the time you sell and could be a deterrent for future home buyers.

How to Avoid:

To avoid this home renovation mistake, keep the bones of the house timeless, and use other methods to honour current trends. If you are looking to do something funky that reflects your personality, use decor, rugs, wall hangings, and paint to do so. You’d be amazed at how trendy a space can look by simply changing what’s on the surface.

Buying Cheap Supplies

In the age of DIY, buying cheap or low-quality supplies is a frequent home renovation mistake. Your brand-new shower tile or DIY in-wall bookshelf may look fantastic when you first complete them, but when that grout starts chipping, and the shelving starts ripping your walls apart after six months of use, your cheap DIY could become a new, expensive issue.

Additionally, if you are working on an outdoor home renovation project and have a Home Owner Association, cheap materials can easily fall apart and cause you to get fined. For any external home renovation, make sure that your HOA approves any projects you work on before you get started.

How to Avoid:

Not skimping on the cost of materials is the best way to avoid this home renovation mistake. Reference our budgeting point if you are still in the planning stage, and research the cost of materials and allocate generously.

If you have already made your budget and are buying supplies, choose to save money on less crucial choices like cabinet hardware or kitchen backsplash, and use the chunk of your budget for the main structural materials of your renovation.

Pro Tip: When DIY-ing a home renovation project, be realistic with your time and capabilities and determine if hiring a professional is more time- and cost-efficient. It may seem more expensive up front, but you could end up saving on home renovation mistakes and future problems.

Only Measuring Once

This home renovation mistake is self-explanatory and straight to the point. It may seem small, but buying $300 worth of supplies and then getting home to realize you measured wrong is a nightmare and ends up costing you extra time and money. This issue can be specifically harmful to both you and your suppliers if you have scheduled delivery for new appliances that don’t end up fitting where you need them to.

How to Avoid:

Measure everything at least two times when completing any home renovation project. Better yet, have a spouse, roommate, or friend measure to double or triple-check your work. This may feel tedious upfront, but you’ll thank yourself when you only have to take one easy trip to Home Depot instead of multiple.

Trying to DIY Everything

We know there is a TikTok hack and YouTube tutorial for every project under the sun, but try to avoid making the home renovation mistake of DIY-ing everything yourself. Everything looks easy on a 20-minute YouTube video, but when you get elbow-deep into a bathroom renovation and start to experience plumbing problems, you may have overshot your realistic capabilities. Do-it-yourself projects are great for small repairs or aesthetic projects, but when making renovations to the structure of your home, it’s best to trust the professionals.

How to Avoid:

When making your list of home renovation projects, determine the smaller ones that can safely be done yourself and decide which ones need an experienced professional. We recommend getting a professional for any project that impacts your house’s structural or functional integrity.

Projects like putting a stone facade on your fireplace or switching out cabinet hardware can easily be DIY projects, but putting in a new pool or a brand new tub/shower should likely be left to the experts.

6 Home Renovation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We hope this list of the top 6 home renovation mistakes has helped you to prepare for your future home remodel. If you need help figuring out which project to work on first, check out our list of home repairs that actually increase your home value.