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Renovating an old property can save you a lot of money on the road to your dream home. On the other hand, if you plan to get rid of a piece of real estate, renovating can help you turn an extra profit when you sell. You need to look out for many pitfalls to avoid the mistakes homeowners make when renovating old properties.

Getting the most out of your home through renovating will surely improve your quality of life. It will also increase the resale value, which is a great long term strategy. Moreover, remodeling is alluring if you are considering a quick ‘fix and flip.’ Just be sure you don’t rush things without thinking them through.

Here are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make when renovating old properties, as well as tips on how to avoid them.

Measuring coins with a tool representing a way to avoid mistakes homeowners make when renovating
Measuring coins with a tool.

Underestimating your budget and time

Do not make last-minute decisions; they will push your entire plan off balance. But let’s be honest, you’re bound to make some changes or impulse purchases anyway; you’re only human. So what can you do about it? Allow room for unexpected expenses in your budget and aim to finish all of the work ahead of schedule. This way, if something unexpected does end up happening, you’ll still have a little wiggle room left to maneuver. As strange as it may sound, most large projects require you to plan for unexpected things to occur. Appropriating around 15 percent of the total budget for contingencies should be a reasonable sum to deal with any curveballs you may encounter along the way. You don’t have to spend the money you have set aside for the contingency budget, but you will be grateful it’s there if you end up needing it.

Thinking you can do everything yourself

Cutting costs by doing some of the work yourself sounds like a good idea, but try to be realistic. You are probably not a jack of all trades. Sure, you can tackle a few tasks here and there; however, don’t be afraid to get professionals to do most of the work – and we’re not just talking about the stuff you don’t know how to do. For example, you could move all the furniture yourself before doing the floors, but imagine if you threw your back out in the process. Something like that will take you out for much longer than you can probably afford. Instead, you could get help with heavy lifting and not worry about potential injuries. This will let you focus your energy and time on critical decisions that require your input instead of raw labor. Realistically, what would you rather be doing: the planning and decision making, or the lifting?

An old open window next to a shut door
Think carefully about what elements of your home you want to remove.

Removing too much

Out of all the mistakes homeowners make when renovating old properties, this one is probably the most tempting to go for. You are renovating for a reason, so why not make it look new and shiny? While there is truth to that, you don’t want to rip out everything that gives your home its soul and character. Original period windows can give your home a lot of charm. Repairing is often cheaper than outright replacing. Getting new replacements is usually a costly alternative to refurbishing. Be sure to plan the decorations and furnishings in advance since those finishing touches are what is most visible about your home. When looking at your property’s original construction, see what you can keep and repair since that is often the cheaper and more eco-friendly solution. Obviously, some things will need to go – you are renovating, after all. What you do end up replacing should fit with the rest of your home. Stick to similar materials and matching styles, making sure the old and the new mesh together well. This kind of fusion can give your home a look that is both retro and new-age at the same time, making it truly timeless.

Trying to save on everything

No one likes spending more than they need to. Renovating old properties is expensive, and you will probably end up paying more than you initially thought or even planned. But that’s what the contingency budget, which we discussed earlier, is for.

There are three main things people cheap out on, which can cause a lot of unnecessary costs down the line:

  • Cheap materials

Cheap materials are usually cheap for a reason. They either won’t last you a long time or are just ugly and cheap-looking. Neither of these options is right for you, and they can both devalue your property. The work you are doing should last a long time. How often do you want to go through the hassle and stress of renovating? Ordering materials that will wear out after just two seasons probably isn’t the cheaper option anyway. On the other hand, getting ugly materials is just a fashion crime against your home that you will have to live with every day; it’s not an ugly Christmas sweater you can take off and forget about until next season. Oh no, you get to look at that gross upholstery every time you sit on the sofa.

Well lit tiled bathroom
Order surplus materials to account for breakage
  • Not enough material

Not ordering enough materials isn’t something anyone will do on purpose. Having insufficient materials happens when you order just enough tiles to cover the bathroom, and then some of them break. Ordering a new batch can cause the scheduled work to delay, leading to further complications. It’s significantly safer to go a bit above when ordering. Ask the store you are buying from if they have a return or buy-back option to deal with surplus material that doesn’t get used.

  • Hiring the most affordable workers

When choosing workers for your project, avoid going for the contractors with the lowest bid. Talk to them about their availability and work experience, or even better, check out what their previous clients have to say. Online reviews and testimonials are getting more common, so you shouldn’t have a hard time looking them up. Be wary of cheap, instantly available workers who have no reviews. Additionally, getting an unrealistically low quote can mean hidden expenses. Be sure to ask if they have included everything in the price they quoted so you don’t get surprised by any unexpected fees they didn’t initially mention.

Not protecting your furniture adequately.

Sometimes, the only way to avoid additional expenses in the form of purchasing new furniture because you have damaged it beyond repair is storing it away from your house. Until the works are over, it would be best to let Best Bet Moving and Labor take your belongings to the safe place. You will be glad to have done that in the end.

How many of the mistakes homeowners make when renovating old properties have you made? If none, well done. If you are just embarking on this journey and looking to avoid them, good luck and happy remodeling!