Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Katie DuncanAugust 5, 2022

Reviewed By: Amplify

The past two years have changed many things for people, including the amount of time we spend in our homes. A New York Times study revealed that the average American spends ten waking hours in their home, a significant jump from the pre-pandemic amount of eight hours.

With so much extra time spent in the home, many have realized their dire need for renovations and upgrades.

If you’re considering a remodeling project, you’ll want to take time to plan out your home renovation and work out any kinks before you start hammering nails.

9 Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

As you begin your home renovation project, be on the lookout for these nine pitfalls.

1. You fail to create (and stick to) a detailed budget.

Remodels can get expensive quickly— especially if you don’t take the time to work out a budget beforehand. Before you start buying materials or tearing down walls, think about your priorities. Do a little research to determine how much materials, tools, and labor will cost.

If you plan on hiring a contractor, they can be instrumental in helping you get an idea of project expenses and provide you with a quote.

2. You don’t plan for unexpected expenses.

If there’s one thing that is to be expected with any home renovation project, it’s the unexpected. When building your budget, always leave a little wiggle room for surprise costs.

You may remove old tile to find mold must be removed by a professional. You may get a little too carried away during the demolition phase and take a wall down you shouldn’t have. A contractor may determine that your plumbing needs to be brought up to code. The list of possibilities is endless.

Experts recommend factoring in an extra 10%-20% of your project budget for unexpected expenses.

Ready to tackle your next home improvement project?

Have you heard about our Homeowner Express Loan? Homeowners can get a lower rate on a personal loan for small–or large!–home improvement projects, without tapping into their home equity.

3. You don’t get the right permits.

Large home improvement projects may require building permits. Unfortunately, getting permits can be time consuming and, at times, expensive.

Working without a permit, however, is never a good idea.

If you’re caught without required permits, you can face steep penalties. Even if you’re not caught, you can run into issues trying to sell your home down the line. Your homeowners insurance may not cover the additions or any damages that occur during unpermitted work. You may complete the project without knowing that the work or design actually isn’t up to code.

The list of reasons why you shouldn’t cut corners is long. Don’t do it!

4. You forget about workflow and ergonomics in your design.

Designing something new may be the most fun part of home renovation, but it’s also the most crucial. A gorgeous kitchen can still be annoying to work in if it’s a challenge to navigate. Will you have enough counter and storage space? Are your kitchen cabinets within arm’s reach? Are appliances too far apart?

Consider how you use your spaces in the initial phases of planning. Cater to the design to your needs alongside your aesthetic wants.

5. You fail to coordinate aesthetic elements.

In addition to the flow of your spaces, think through how all colors, surfaces, textures, and materials will work together. Be sure to factor in adjacent living spaces. Will your new red contemporary kitchen clash horribly with your adjacent green living room? Don’t overlook how the new spaces will work with the old.

6. You assume you have to be conventional.

Home supply outlets carry a wide variety of materials, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate custom-made elements, vintage pieces, or family heirlooms if you choose. If you have a great idea that would make your home unique, try to work it in.

If creating a one-of-a-kind space isn’t incentive enough, sourcing vintage or antique pieces can oftentimes be cheaper than buying new!

7. You leave space underutilized.

Consider how the empty spaces in your home are being used. Often, additional storage can be worked into walls and cabinetry. Combine aesthetic and utility in your remodel to create the most value for yourself.

8. You overestimate your expertise.

Even skilled do-it-yourselfers can often benefit from the advice and expertise of a professional. At a minimum, take advantage of the knowledge of specialists at home supply stores who can advise you (for free) on elements to consider when planning out new spaces such as kitchens or bathrooms.

9. You underestimate the time and impact involved.

It’s essential to be realistic about when your project will be finished and what elements of your everyday life will be affected in the meantime. If you’re going through a bathroom remodel, for instance, you’ll need to consider where family members will shower and use facilities in the meantime.

Home renovations can be well worth the time, money and effort—as long as you plan carefully for the contingencies.

Funding Your Home Renovation

Another mistake people make? Not looking into their financing options!

A loan can be a great way to add value to your home without the financial stress of paying for it all upfront. There are three types of home loans that are especially beneficial for homeowners wanting to invest in a remodel.

Home Equity Loan

Home equity loans are a unique type of loan backed by the equity you have in your home. Because a home is used as collateral, borrowers can typically get much better interest rates.

Home Equity Line of Credit

Home equity lines of credit are similar to a home equity loan. However, instead of getting your money as one lump sum, a HELOC allows you to draw money as you need it.

Like a home equity loan, you’ll be approved for an amount, which is limited by the amount of equity you have in your home. There is no obligation to use the entire loan amount, but you’ll be able to draw money for a specified period of time. You’ll only be charged interest on the amount that you draw from the line of credit.

Homeowner Express Loan

Don’t have equity built in your home just yet? At Amplify, we offer a unique personal loan—the Homeowner Express Loan. Qualified homeowners get a lower rate than a traditional personal loan, and you can get up to $40,000 without tapping into your equity.

Get Started Today

Ready to start planning your dream renovation? Even small projects can be a large undertaking, so be sure to plan ahead and be ready to put in some time, money, and a little elbow grease. Start by exploring the financing options that can help make your dreams a reality!

Ready to start your project?

Talk to our team and figure out your financing.

Katie Duncan

Katie Duncan is a financial writer based in Austin, Texas. Her articles include financial advice for freelancers, homebuyers, and more. When she’s not writing, Katie loves traveling and exploring the outdoors with her friends and her dog, Poe.