Whether it’s done by a pro or you decide to DIY, the best way to protect your home renovation is to always expect the unexpected. When renovating my friends’ 1980s beach condo, I encountered some pressing issues that I knew I had to share with all you fellow DIYers out there. Projects rarely start and end without hiccups, and they’re usually out of your control; but what you can control is how you prepare for them.
Depending on your neighborhood, there may be HOA restrictions to be aware of. Often times, exterior modifications must be approved by the HOA board. In my beach condo renovation, the condo is grouped with other condos, leaving exterior modifications absolutely prohibited. Thankfully, all the planned renovations were interior updates, and none required structural changes.
But, I still wasn’t out of the woods. I had to be mindful of the noise ordinances that restricted the times I could work on the condo. The last thing I wanted to do was upset or inconvenience the neighbors, or cause issues for the HOA board or the condo’s owners. Protect your home renovation process by double-checking the HOA rules or noise ordinances in your area just to refresh your memory; if you have questions, ask for clarification prior to taking on any renovation projects. (PS: It may be a nice gesture to give the surrounding neighbors a head’s up of your plans!)
Especially with HOAs, there may be restrictions on how you handle construction debris. With the beach condo, the community dumpster rules specifically state that no construction debris is allowed. The beach condo is only 490 square feet and when we started tearing stuff out, the space got really small really fast. This required us to haul countless trips to the city dump ourselves, which was quite a distance away and ate into working time.
To protect your home renovation project from needless stress, find out if you can have a temporary dumpster outside your home, and be clear about when it will arrive and when it will leave. If you’re not in an HOA, you still might have restrictions. For example, my neighborhood allows for what we call “big trash pickup,” but there are rules for how many days the trash can sit on the curb. If you’re unsure of what the rules are, a quick search or phone call to your town’s municipal office can help.
If you’ve ever watched a renovation show on HGTV, you know that hidden problems are common to renovations. Even if things look completely normal from the outside, you just never know what’s going on inside walls and underneath floors. When we installed our new vinyl plank flooring in our home, we found that the floors were in such bad shape, part of the subfloor needed to be replaced. At the condo, when we removed the toilet to replace the flooring, we discovered the drywall was damaged; when we removed the trim, there was mold!
While neither situation was disastrous, these surprises added extra time, money, and effort before we could continue with the projects. Protect your home renovation by setting aside a little extra money in an “emergency fund” for these kinds of unexpected surprises.
(READ MORE: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a DIY Renovation)
Tight Time Frames
Unless DIYs are your full time job, you’re likely fitting in your projects after work or on weekends. Setting realistic time frames (note I didn’t say “expected” time frames!) is an easy way to protect your home renovation because it can cushion you against projects taking longer than you’d like. You never know when supplies may take longer to receive, what unexpected issues may arise, or how many trips you’ll need to take to the home improvement store. All of these things take away from actual working time, and when you’re already working on tight HOA-regulated work times or client schedules, they can greatly impact how long a project will take. Overcalculating your project’s duration can help save you frustration and panic down the road.
Protect Your Home Renovation with Homes.com
The most crucial way to protect your home renovation is to have a clear plan. Map out the steps that you need to take, the projects you plan to complete, tools you’ll need, and supplies to complete the job. Do your research and if you’re not sure, ask the opinion of a professional. Homes.com has a library of resources to help you with your home projects, so take a look around and be sure to check back for more tips, tricks and insights!