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Home Renovation Myth Busting

Don't start your project with these misconceptions

Planning a home renovation can be stressful, especially when everyone from Aunt Mildred to your nosy neighbor is telling you their best horror stories. Even with a solid plan and expectations, you might feel some pre-reno jitters. Before you talk to your first contractor or make your list of supplies, let’s bust some myths about home renovation.
Myth #1: DIY is always cheaper.
Depending on the size and scope of your reno project, you might be able to tackle the whole shebang in one weekend with just a few hundred dollars. Chances are, you have a friend or colleague who can walk you through the process of common home renovation projects. However, it can be easy to get in over your head (literally, if you’re trying to raise the ceiling of your basement) and wish you’d started by contacting a professional. Carefully consider if the money you’ll save is worth the risk and stress of what could go wrong. You might end up saving thousands if you don’t have to call in a pro to correct the damage and then start the actual project.
Myth #2: You can plan as you go.
If your renovation project is complex, you may need to revise your plan of attack once the renovation is underway. Unpredictable things can happen (hello, broken floorboards concealed by carpet), so flexibility is key. However, starting a project without a written plan is an exercise in futility. No matter the size of your project, you’ll want to take some notes about the budget, supplies, steps or phases and even have a sketch or vision of how you want things to turn out. That way, when unanticipated complexities arise, you’ll have a map to keep you on course.
Myth #3: You can predict the cost down to the dollar.
When budgeting for a home renovation, it’s best to over-estimate what you think things will cost. Materials are easy enough to price, but it’s best to expect you’ll need more than you know. If you’ve padded your budget with a few hundred dollars (or more, depending on the size of your renovation), you’ll be able to consider options when they arise. Want to upgrade to a faucet with Touch2O technology? If you’ve got some wiggle room in your budget, then you can make these choices without breaking the bank.
Myth #4: You absolutely must have help.
Some renovation projects merit calling in the pros: home additions, moving walls, redirecting your plumbing, etc. If you haven’t attempted work like this in a past, you can create havoc in your home’s most trafficked areas. However, there are plenty of home upgrades that are well suited for DIYers that don’t require an estimate and professional experience. Research recommendations and results from other homeowners; learn from the example of others so you won’t make too many mistakes yourself.
Myth #5: It’s not worth the effort/cost.
Some projects increase the value of a home to prospective buyers; kitchen and bath renovations rank at the top of realtor’s lists for return on investment. If you’re not updating your home to prepare it for market, though, you can be a little more self-serving with your project plans. What makes sense for your family might not make sense for others, but it doesn’t need to. If you own your home, adding a whimsical playroom or reading nook can provide years of enjoyment. If you’ll enjoy an update, no matter if it’s practical or popular, make the investment to personalize your space.