What NOT To Do: A Pro Reveals the Top 3 Mistakes Homeowners Make When Planning a Project

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Dan from Dan’s Renovation Diary on Apartment Therapy)

Jean Lauer is the brains behind The Sweeten, a super successful “matchmaking” service that pairs NYC homeowners with the professionals who can help them make their home into the place of their dreams. So, in other words, she’s seen it all when it comes to what makes a project go smoothly or, well, not-so-much. Here are her top three things to NOT do when planning your renovation—give them a read to help keep your expectations (and sanity!) in check…

Jean says:

1. Tick tock, tick tock

When planning a renovation, homeowners often underestimate the amount of time a project will take. Many homeowners solely think about the physical labor time period and forget to account for all the time it takes to plan. The irony here is that in some cases, physical labor is actually the least time-intensive part of the project.

2. Approvals

When planning a renovation, homeowners often underestimate how long it will take to get approval for their project. Between demanding co-op boards and byzantine Department of Buildings requirements, homeowners can spend three to four months navigating paperwork and reviews. Many homeowners are initially most worried about the cost of the project and then find themselves paralyzed and frustrated when they realize that the start of the project is weeks or months away.

3. Camping Out

When planning a renovation, homeowners often forget to make the right plans for living through the work itself. Especially in space-deprived NYC homes, homeowners need to realistically plan for the disruption, assess whether they can stay in the space until the work is done, and budget for alternate accommodations if essential spaces will be blocked off. If you are planning a transformative renovation project that will last beyond a few days, or your project entails gutting walls and floors that will expose significant dust and materials, you should expect to live elsewhere until the work is done.

→ Read more on all three of these “don’ts” on The Sweeten

– Re-edited from a post originally published on 9.19.2014 – CM