The Most Common Mistakes When Starting a Reno (and How to Avoid Them)

published Jun 29, 2018
(Image credit: Alicia Macias)

If you’ve ever ended a Fixer Upper binge convinced you can definitely make over your kitchen and shiplap your bedroom this weekend, then you know that renovations are rarely what they seem. Whether you’re calling in contractors or just refreshing paint, there are perennial pitfalls that cost time, money, and frustration. These common mistakes could cost you—or you could read on and avoid them now. (We suggest option B.)

#1: Not Being Prepared

To quote every carpenter ever: “Measure twice, cut once.” The more you prepare, the better off you’ll be. Two common mistakes are over-renovating (spending more money than what will increase resale value, if resale is part of your goal) and skipping small precautions that reduce big mess or damage later on (like closing vents to prevent dust from spreading). And bank on a mishap or two: It’s not pessimistic, it’s practical.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

#2: Buying Before Planning

That flea-market vanity may have been your inspo, but buying items and working backwards before you’ve planned or taken all the necessary measurements is a recipe for disaster. Smarter decision: Start at the end. Consider what aspects of your space you want to preserve, such as original flooring or beautiful light fixtures, and go from there.

#3: Not Budgeting for Unexpected Expenses

Not creating a solid—and realistic—budget before you begin tearing down walls can lead to failure. Needing more cash flow mid-renovation is common. Before reaching for your credit card, look to more inexpensive emergency credit sources, like a home equity line of credit. For example, the Manulife One account provides easy access to the equity you’ve built up in your home (up to your borrowing limit), without asking for permission, securing additional funds, or racking up high interest.

(Image credit: Lisa Diederich)

#4: Prioritizing Price Over Quality

Deciding where to splurge versus save is important when renovating—quality products increase quality of life and resale value when chosen strategically. Splurge on things that will stay with the house when you sell, like quality light fixtures or faucets; save on accessories and second-hand furniture. Being able to invest in the things that will make your home stand out is easier when you have access to your home’s equity and can put the money you previously invested in your property into your renovations.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

#5: Hiring the First Contractor You Meet

It may be tempting to sign with the first contractor you meet just to get the job underway, but do your research, get advice from friends and family, then interview at least three candidates before committing. Get written quotes, and beware of the lowest bidder: He or she will likely end up cutting corners and using cheap material, negating the added value that comes with an upgrade.

Renovations are exciting, but keep your feet on the ground while your head is in Pinterest boards: Set a prudent budget, make realistic plans, and hire the right team. With a home equity line of credit such as Manulife One, you can consolidate your accounts and access the credit available up to your borrowing limit. Combine your mortgage, line of credit, and checking and savings accounts to make managing your financial needs simpler—while accessing your home equity without approval from an account manager.

With Manulife One, you can say goodbye to lengthy bank appointments, manage debt more easily, and have the flexibility of additional funds based on your home equity. Translation: Your renovations on your terms.

This post is sponsored by Manulife.
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