Renovation Nightmares – What Not To Do When Renovating

Renovating your home is a fun and exciting experience — especially if you have a decent sized budget and a team to help you. But, it can be easy to get carried away in the process and make choices that seemed reasonable at the moment, but that you’ll regret later. Some of the most common renovation mistakes are overspending, forgetting storage space, and following trends destined to become unpopular in just a few years’ time. Here’s how to avoid them.


When remodeling or renovating, it can be easy to go down a rabbit trail and lose track of your initial goals. You may find yourself tens of thousands of dollars over budget with updates you hadn’t originally planned on.


To avoid this, focus on projects that add long-term utility to your home and increase its value. These may include adding additional storage (which we’ll discuss below), upgrading your kitchen, replacing flooring (like new carpet or fixing broken tile), or updating your bathroom. These projects provide immediate return on investment by both increasing your home’s value and providing a more enjoyable living space.


Before you start your renovation, create a list of all the items you will address in the renovation. Then, craft a reasonable budget and — because projects often cost more than anticipated — pad in an extra 20% just in case you need to deal with any surprises. Set a realistic timeline for completing the work — this helps save you money by ensuring the process runs smoothly, especially if you’re hiring out the work or displaced to a hotel while renovations are being completed.


It may surprise you how much low-cost upgrades can make a major impact on the overall look or feel of your home. For example, a new coat of bright, neutral paint on a wall in a dark area of your home can help freshen things up and make your home more welcoming. A couple hundred dollars on new cabinet pulls and knobs or a new sink (and maybe new countertops if you have the budget) can bring your kitchen into the 21st century.

Forget storage space

Storage (or lack of it) can be a deal breaker for many home buyers. Not to mention, if you’re planning on staying in your home, it’s great to have a place to put all your stuff. If you have an older home, it may not have been originally built with much storage space. But now that people tend to own more things in general, don’t overlook adding extra storage when renovating your home.


Some ways to expand your space without a full-on addition include expanding a closet, adding a shed to the yard, building a garage, finishing a basement, or including more drawers and cabinets in your existing bathroom or kitchen remodel. These options add value to your home without increasing its footprint and can pay off big.

Follow trends

Shag carpet. Wood paneling. Wallpaper borders. These past trends are cringeworthy, but at the time were all the rage. If you have these features in your home, consider slowly phasing them out. These trends can really date your home and turn off potential buyers who may feel overwhelmed by their growing list of projects — which would then include replacing flooring and redoing walls immediately upon move-in.


If you want to be trendy with your renovations, stick with investing in modern furniture and decor, rather than countertops, walls, or flooring, which are much more difficult and costly to swap out. The more bizarre or unique the trend, the more likely it is to date your home in the near future. On the contrary, good design lasts forever.


A simple, timeless, and neutral living room can be brought to life with modern, trendy couches, a beautiful chandelier, or  a pop of color through throw pillows or artwork on the wall. Focusing your creative flair on your furnishings will save you the headache of having to make expensive updates to walls or flooring later.


Author Bio: Ben Mizes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, a free online service that connects home buyers and sellers with real estate agents. Ben is also an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed real estate agent in the State of Missouri.


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