Houston Home Improvement Worst Practices

06:14 Feb 2019
home renovation

Home improvement in Houston is a billion-dollar industry and showing little sign of waning. Home owners have enjoyed a vibrant 10 year run for Houston area home value increases. This and the personal desire to improve our lifestyle and comfort drives property owners to seek different methods and means to improve their surroundings. Although these intentions are well founded many home improvement projects can have very different undesirable results. This is the outcome that develops from inappropriate motivations, poor planning, ineffective execution and unrealistic expectations. So, a dream project can turn into a haunting nightmare. We will discuss many of homeowner practices that lead to the self-fulfilling home improvement project disasters.

home renovation

Being Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

There is an expression that professional contractors use describing homeowners overly focused on saving money on a home improvement project. They are referred to it as “stepping over dollars to pick up pennies”. This implies that homeowners in their haste to save money cause themselves consequential costly damages that result in greater expenditures than planned.

An extreme example of this is when a homeowner attempting to save money and time skips essential steps in a home improvement process, that results in the project requiring to be redone. Another example of this is when a homeowner hires a home improvement contractor because they were much cheaper then the other contractors. Most of the time this results in the homeowner getting what they paid for. Something far less than they had expected.

This happens much more frequently than you might expect. The cost of home improvements continues to get more expensive. One can almost buy a used car for the price of a new roof. So, we are all attempting to stretch our dollars as far as we can. The issues begin when we start accepting offers to good to be true.

Insufficient Skill & Resources to Complete Project

Home improvement projects can be complicated to the novice DIY homeowner. A common theme with inexperienced homeowners is to take bids from contractors on a home improvement project that is in immediate need of attention. After reviewing these bids and watching a few U-Tube videos, the do-it-your-selfer decides to tackle the project himself.

With the proper guidance and planning this might work out alright, depending on the project complexity. But more often this approach results in incomplete repairs, further damage and a far greater expense then what might have been saved. Not having the proper skills to conduct even the simplest of home improvement tasks can have unfortunate consequences. Take for instance hooking up an icemaker in a kitchen. If the water line connection gets cross threaded, the entire kitchen wood floors could easily flood if the leak goes undetected for several days.

Another lack of resources that can cause issues is a deficiency of money. It is common to begin a project that has a certain amount of concealed damages that do not become revealed until it is opened. Once opened the scope of work for this kind of project can triple in expense. This type of surprise if large enough can cause delays and even financial distress if not handled properly.

Little to No Planning

A very common error younger new homeowners make is tackling a large home improvement project because they saw an episode of HGTV. The program inspires them so much that they get up off the coach and take a wrecking bar to the home. These television programs are usually a half of hour to an hour long in length. The projects that they promote might take 4 – 6 months in duration. The planning of the program projects is either skipped over or abbreviated from the weeks they required to minutes of the show. This provides the unknowing homeowner a false sense of confidence in their ability.

There is a natural tendency for homeowners to get overly zealous when starting a home improvement project. Some of the typical mistakes are not having the right equipment, not protecting other finishes in the immediate vicinity and interrupting needed home conveniences like utilities. These delays and inconveniences will add to the expense of your home improvement project.

Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations can arise from a number of reasons. This can begin with something as simple as a lack of effective communications. When a homeowner hires a remodeling contractor for a home improvement project there is a need for both owner and contractor to clearly understand written and unwritten terms. Things like the materials used, the length of construction time and the level of workmanship expected can avoid needless misunderstandings.

Owners can also have unrealistic expectations with regards to home improvement cost, the project scope of work required and the expected performance. It is understandable that an owner would not really have an idea how much home improvement projects might cost. The difference is that once they have done their research on cost, certain group of owners will continue to function in a state of denial. This usually ends up the owner accepting a lowball price because that’s what they expected their improvements should cost.

Another area that owners misalign expectations is the level of performance execution that they expect from contractors. There is a large group of home owners that believe that home improvement contractors perform at the same quality standards. That the price that one pays for home improvement services has little to do with the quality of the workmanship. This type of mind set will likely cause conflicts with any contractor that executes work.

Persuaded by Poor Guidance

Homeowners rely heavily upon other people’s referrals in obtaining recommendations for hiring home improvement contractors. This can have good as well as unwelcome consequences. Just because your neighbor was pleased with a specific contractor is no assurance that you will experience the same results. Most medium to large contractors hire many workmen to perform their services for clients. The owners experience can vary widely based upon the performance of a certain employee.

Owners are also influenced by advisers or construction experts to undertake certain home improvement projects. This advice may misinform or mislead the owner in taking a specific strategy that does not resolve their problems or aggravates the problem more. One such common example of this is when an owner’s foundation experiences severe settlement and requires the need of repair. They might seek the advice of a contractor or maybe a relative that leads to further complications with the structure.

There are many common home improvements practices that owners follow that can be either effective or disastrous. The outcome will usually come down to the amount of due diligence an owner exercised in making their decisions.

Comments are closed.