by Erika Remmington
There are a number of ways that a renovation or construction project can surprise you. But what are the avoidable mistakes? What should you be thinking about before you start building? Here are just eight things to consider before the fact.
1. Structural Flaws – Some may be obvious, like cracks in the foundation or eroding walls, but others may not come to your attention until after you’ve demolished and are preparing to re-build. Go through your home with a checklist of warning signs, and make sure you have extra money set aside just in case they aren’t readily apparent.
2. Property Taxes – If you install a new wing upstairs or completely remodel the kitchen, you might increase your home’s property value, which in turn will mean larger taxes in the spring. Always research the consequences of your remodeling ideas. Talk to a contractor or real estate agent if you aren’t sure how your plans will affect your property values.
3. Contractors – Did you know that some states don’t require contractors to be licensed? This is just one of the secrets that your builders won’t tell you. Make sure you understand the ways you can be cheated, scammed and misled before you sign any agreements or allow them access to your home.
4. Unseen Fees –From the electricity that powers the saws to the cost of the storage facility where you’ve put all your dining room furniture, it’s very easy for all the little expenses to add up to a big whole. Make sure your contingency funds will cover them all, or set aside 5-10 percent of your budget just for emergencies.
5. Pests –Legally, all work must grind to a halt if the contractor demolishes a wall and discovers a nest of something foul. If the problem persists for days or even weeks, it can run up your project costs substantially. It might not be a bad idea to call the exterminator before you start remodeling.
6. Zoning Laws –Your neighbor can take you to court if you build on his property. It doesn’t matter if your new garage is only a foot into his space! Know your zoning laws to avoid lawsuits and court costs. You should also familiarize yourself with how your property is classified, ie as a single-family residential home, in order to comply with restrictions and ordinances.
7. Building Codes -Every state has its own building codes, and some of them can add hundreds of dollars to your remodeling project. They can even require permits, which is something you should definitely know sooner rather than later. Again, research is key when you’re planning a new home or renovation.
8. Plumbing – According to EZ Plumbing Inc, plumbing considerations are often the most expensive part of property construction. This is because you have to work your plans around the pipes instead of the other way around. If you’re building a bathroom or re-doing your kitchen, give yourself plenty of wiggle room when it comes to sinks, toilets and tubs.
Whether you’re building your own home or just remodeling something on the side, these are eight things to consider before you start knocking down the walls. Reflect on them carefully to avoid surprises and surcharges when you least expect it.