Home remodeling, like most any other project, can suffer seriously negative effects when someone goes into it with mistaken information. In our experience, these three myths are the most common offenders:
DIY is More Cost Effective
Although we at AAA Remodeling always work closely with clients to manage budget expectations, we understand that many people go into major renovations with a lot of anxiety about the potential cost. We also recognize that some of those people try to bring down those costs in advance by taking certain aspects of the remodeling project upon themselves. Results are, at best, mixed.
Technically, it’s true that you’ll be paying less out of pocket if you reduce the amount of work that your contractors will have to do. But this reduction is often nullified by the opportunity costs associated with working on a remodel in your free time, and thus dragging out the disruption to your home for much longer than if full-time contractors had done it for you.
This trade-off starts to look even less worthwhile when you think about economies of scale. Most contractors will give you a better deal on individual elements of a home remodeling project if they’re able to do the entire project on an agreed-upon schedule. Breaking the project up into professional and DIY components can actually make it less efficient for everyone involved, thus creating needless frustration and actually raising some of the relevant costs.
No Permit, No Problem
When homeowners turn home remodeling into a DIY project, it’s easy for them to overlook things that are second nature to professional contractors. Those contractors generally know exactly what is required in order to complete a project safely, efficiently, and legally. In this way, they avoid all sorts of problems that homeowners may not have considered in the first place.
Many DIY enthusiasts seem to think that permits aren’t necessary for projects that take place inside the home. In fact, they are usually required for any project that goes beyond superficial alterations, including anything that involves electrical work, plumbing, or the movement of walls and windows. If you press ahead with a mid-sized project and you don’t have the appropriate permits, inspects can force you to halt work or even to undo what has already been done.
Permitting issues have long-term consequences, too. If you haven’t obtained them, there’s no way of being sure that the completed work is up to code. This could open you up to fines at any time, or make you liable for injury or damage that results from non-professional work.
Return on Investment
This isn’t a specific myth so much as a general category of misconceptions. But it bears mentioning because it’s a category that can lead people to start home remodeling projects with the wrong expectations, or for the wrong reasons.
There’s a strong tendency to over-emphasize ROI when deciding upon how to remodel a home. But adding value to your home should never be the sole or primary reason why you undertake a remodeling project. For sure, such a project will probably add value, but unless the value of homes in your area is increasing for other reasons, the impact probably won’t be enough to recoup the cost of renovation. And even when prices are rising, your home remodel has to be in line with prospective buyers’ expectations for the neighborhood.
The main purpose of a home remodeling project is and always should be to improve the subjective value you derive from living in that home. This is a philosophy you’ll probably recognize when you discuss home improvement with AAA Remodeling. Our goal is always to understand the client’s vision and help them to achieve their ideal home environment, never to push projects on them just because they’re trendy or expensive.