Ack! The dreaded renovation is about to take place! The actual process of renovating won’t be a barrel of laughs, but the end result will be worth it. That is unless you make a mountain of mistakes. There are intrinsically so many things that can go wrong in a renovation; from start to finish it’s a never ending parade of peril. Fear not! We have a few pointers to help you avoid the pitfalls of home improvement. Follow this guide and avoid the most common renovation mistakes.

Bad Budgets

All home improvement budgets need to be nailed down and solid prior to breaking ground. This includes a full 20% being set aside for emergencies (like when you spring a leak in the upstairs bathroom and now have to replace your kitchen floor). Research the average cost of items on your dream list, think about small purchases like eating out or renting a storage unit, and don’t spend more than you can feasibly pay-off. For added assurance, create a line-item budget spreadsheet and keep copies handy for you and your contractor.

Neglecting Permits And Inspection

Before you start any job, understand what permits you’re required to have and schedule your inspections. It’s important to take care of any structural and safety issues before you begin fixing problems on the surface. And there’s nothing worse than being halfway through your build and getting a visit from an inspector only to have him shut you down because you’re not following safety protocols or you’re building without proper permits.

Purchasing Materials Too Soon

You might think to yourself, ‘Oooh, this high quality tile is going on sale and just perfect for the new bathroom. Let’s grab it!’ While everyone can appreciate a good deal, the reality is that when it comes to building materials you need to have dimensions and measurements figured out first, and you need to buy enough extra material to make up for any mistakes. High quality items at a really good sale usually indicate an item is being discontinued. When you get to the point in your build when it’s time to use those materials and you find you don’t have enough, now you have to purchase new materials and those other tiles… Well, they make really good paperweights. Expensive, but good.


Repeat after us: Measure, Mark, Cut, repeat ad nauseum. This is basic woodworking 101 and something your contractor and workers are probably versed in how to do. But measuring in general is tricky. If you measure off even an inch it could lead to gaps in unwanted places and set you right back to square one. Save time. Measure. Measure again. And measure again.

Choosing Cosmetics Over Function

Best example of this is insisting that you have an island put into your kitchen. Whether or not your kitchen can accommodate it you’ve always wanted one and you’re gonna get it. When you sacrifice the function and flow of a room for something you’ve always wanted it’s never going to work out. Kitchen islands are very appealing for the extra prep and storage space they provide. But you need 42” of clearance on all sides of the island to keep your kitchen from getting gummed up with traffic jams. If you don’t have that space available, it’s just not worth it.

Out-Marketing Your Home

Knowing your neighborhood and the current pricing for surrounding homes will help you more than you think. Renovations first and foremost should be about adding value while you increase efficiency in your home. Adding too many bells and whistles now could lead to it being too expensive for the area when it comes time to sell. In order to make back the money you invest, you’ll need to list at a price that is reasonable for the neighborhood but also recoups your reno costs. If your asking price is too high for your area you’re either going to have to bring it down substantially so that it will sell, or keep it on the market indefinitely. A home theatre system might be par for the course in Beverly Hills, but not so much in the majority of Burbank

There are more ways where you can go wrong than this. Not having the right contractor (or good communication with the one you hired) or rushing into things without weighing the pros and cons can lead to disaster. But paying attention to detail, having your priorities in line, and working with someone who will get you the best bang for your buck and you’ll be in excellent shape.