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Darlington Designs
Front view of a white, renovated home with trimmed landscaping and a new red front door.

How to Renovate a House and Avoid Ten Common Mistakes

So You’re Ready to Renovate Your House…

…now what? 

As much as we’d like to tell you it’s as easy as a snap of the fingers to remodel your home, we all know it’s a bit more complicated than that. 

The ins and outs of how to renovate a house aren’t common knowledge for most. Sure, there are resources out there, but in today’s busy times, who really has the time to allocate to learning such an intricate trade? 

That’s where we step in. The team at Darlington Designs has more than 15 years of experience in the fields of home design and construction. We specialize in construction and outdoor living, as well as pools and spas. 

We pride ourselves on our ability to be a “one-stop-shop” for our clients, streamlining the design and build processes to provide maximum time and cost efficiencies. We keep a constant, open line of communication with our clients, ensuring they are informed and happy every step of the way. 

While we encourage you to work with us for your professional home renovation needs, we understand the inclination to want to take a project on yourself. 

Regardless of what you decide, it’s important to do your homework and be aware of some common mistakes homeowners make when beginning a renovation project. 

Ten Common Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating Your House

Below we delve into ten common mistakes homeowners make when beginning a home renovation project. 

Mistake #1: Not Setting a Realistic Budget

At the start of every project, we ensure that we have a detailed conversation about each client’s budget and how we are going to allocate expenses toward the project. 

Setting a budget (specifically, a realistic one) is a crucial first step to beginning a home renovation project. All too often homeowners get carried away with their vision, and before they know it, are way over budget. Evaluate your finances carefully and set realistic expectations for you and/or the contractor. However, experts agree that you should build an extra 20% into your budget for unexpected obstacles. 

Mistake #2: Not Getting the Necessary Permits

When you work with us, we take care of obtaining all necessary permits and compliance codes before beginning a project. 

If you are going to tackle a project yourself though, make sure you check with your county or local municipal building department to ensure you gather all necessary permits and compliance codes before building. If you do not, there is a good chance that your renovation project will be torn down. 

Mistake #3: Not Keeping a Cohesive Style 

We understand the urge to base your remodel project on the trendiest style to date. This isn’t always the best idea though. If one portion of your house is ultra-trendy, while the rest of the house evokes a different style, it can drastically decrease your home’s resale value. The completed renovation project should compliment the entire house, and create a better overall design flow. 

We work with our clients extensively on the design portion of the project, ensuring that the style meets their expectations, but also flows with the rest of the house’s design.

Mistake #4: Not Taking Correct Measurements

This is critical to your project’s overall length and budget. Mismeasuring by even a fraction of an inch can throw the entire project off, causing major delays and the need to repurchase project materials. Buy the proper measuring tools and double (if not triple) check your measurements. 

We always take very precise measurements for any portion of the project, using the latest tools and technologies to get the most accurate readings possible. 

Mistake #5: Not Working on One Project at a Time

The idea of completing all desired renovations at once can be enticing, but disrupting your house (and finances) that much can cause more complications than intended. 

It’s best to prioritize your list of renovations and focus on one project at a time, ensuring the job is done right with the utmost quality. We can help you prioritize your projects and create a timeline that you and your family are comfortable with. 

Mistake #6: Not Paying Attention to Infrastructure 

Detailed look at renovated backyard of white home, featuring outdoor stone patio with furniture and red umbrella. When most renovate their homes, they’re just thinking about the aesthetic changes they want to make. However, if your renovation project entails heavy construction, it may be worth looking into the foundational work within the room while it is exposed. 

For example, if you spend a substantial amount of money remodeling your bathroom, you want to ensure it lasts. Water is a top cause of mold, and once mold grows underneath floors, it is almost impossible to get rid of unless you rip apart the floorboards. A simple membrane system can be installed underneath the floor to ensure water doesn’t seep underneath. 

These small considerations are important to remember when starting renovations. We always take a detailed look at the infrastructure of each renovation project we are about to begin, ensuring there are no glaring issues that can cause trouble and headaches down the road. 

Mistake #7: Not Renovating Your Landscape

Curb appeal is crucial when considering your home’s resale value. Landscaping is one of the first things people see when looking at your home, and can create a great first impression with interested buyers. We specialize in a variety of landscaping projects, from greenery and flowers to hardscaping and outdoor lighting. 

Landscaping is well-known as one of the best ROI home renovation projects, with the ability to increase a home’s value by 10%

Mistake #8: Not Allotting Ample Time for the Project

Home renovations do not come without their fair share of inconveniences and setbacks. Depending on your project, it can impede your daily routine and indoor living conditions for days, weeks, or even months. 

This may sway you to rush projects along, but understand that a rush job is not going to equate to a job well-done. You may get back to your normal routine quicker, but the project that you just spent a significant amount of time and money on completing will not be without its flaws, causing you to have to spend even more money and time fixing the issues.

We always prepare our clients with projected timelines and tips for working around the project’s impact to their daily routines. 

Mistake #9: Not Choosing Quality over Cost

Staying in-line with your budget is priority #1, but it also doesn’t mean that you should seek out the cheapest building materials possible. 

Purchasing cheap building materials may make your wallet happy, but it likely won’t come without a huge compromise in quality, which will affect the lifespan of a renovation project. This will in turn cost you even more down the road when paying for repairs. 

We always work with the highest-quality materials that fit in-line with your budget’s needs. 

Mistake #10: Not Asking Enough Questions

Whether you are working with a contractor or doing a project yourself, it is always important to ask questions and vocalize any concerns you may have. You may actually save yourself, building partner, or contractor from making a costly mistake. 

Understanding what’s happening is important, which is why when you work with us, we ensure that there is an open channel of communication throughout the entire design and build process. 

Now that You Know the Basics of How to Renovate a House

Are you ready to begin?

Contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or call us at 856-442-0440. We proudly serve local neighborhoods in southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia region. 

Also, feel free to contact us via our project forms on our site. The project forms can be found at the bottom of our Outdoor Living and Construction pages.