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Hey guys! We are at week 13 of our renovation and are about two weeks out from completion (crossing my fingers!) Woo! Our floors were put in, baseboards are done and the tiling in the bathroom was completed. As I type this, the touch-up paint and carpet are being completed.
This is our first full fixer upper and, you guys, we have learned a lot! We wanted to share our home renovation mistakes with you in case you are considering doing a home flip in the future!
1. Underestimating Costs
I know that this is easy to do, but we really underestimated the costs that came with starting completely over. We dove in and demolished everything in the house because we wanted it all to be done at once. However, we didn’t account for the really small things that add up quickly like plumbing, drywall, baseboards, blinds and hardware.
I had a well-organized budget sheet initially, but I honestly stopped keeping up with it because I felt so overwhelmed by all of the additional fees. We probably went about $25,000 over budget and this is not hard to do – I promise you! I also have wine taste on a beer budget and should have reigned it in a lot.
It’s the little things here and there that really increase the costs. Keep a tight watch over your finances and cut things out when you need to.
Another thing that contributed to underestimating our costs was changing our initial plan of the house renovation. Next time we will do everything except write it in stone. We ended up adding on refrigerated air, stuccoing the house, painting our shed, hiring a painter and tiling our laundry floor. None of those things were in the initial plan you can imagine the increase of cost after we added those in.
We are, of course, thankful that we have it all and are happy with our decisions. But this decreases the equity that we will have in the home once we sell.
2. Ordering Online
I will say that this is the one that bums me out the most. I purchased so many things online, assuming that I wouldn’t find anything as good in my city. But after I had already purchased everything, I began looking around “just because” and found even better pricing in the stores AND some even had better options. Arizona Tile, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. actually have a lot to offer and could have saved us a lot of money.
3. Varieties of Brass
If you watch my Instagram stories, you likely saw that I sent back countless boxes – (oh, online shopping.) But what I wish I would’ve paid more attention to were the different varieties of brass. The options include: satin brass, polished brass, champagne bronze, french gold, antique brass, and more.
If you look at any house inspiration, brass is in! But you have to get the right on. I initially chose Polished Brass for our bathroom faucets but it wasn’t anything like I expected. It looked like cheap, 80’s gold.
I did more research and eventually ordered this satin brass shower head and sink faucets. It’s a little bit darker than what I wanted, but it’s really pretty and high quality.
What I’ve Learned:
For our home build: I will choose French Gold (like this shower head) for the kid’s bathroom and for our master shower I will splurge on this exposed pipe shower head.
4. Have Everything Chosen And At The House Before You Begin Your Renovation
I think I assumed that I would have a lot more time to choose the products in our home, but most of it turned into either rushing to grab something from the store or making impulsive, last-minute decisions. It definitely put pressure on me because I’m the queen of procrastination.
It caused a lot of delays (like weeks) because we didn’t have a part we needed on the specific day that the contractor needed it, so we had to wait until he was available the following week. Overall, it just wasn’t wise. For next time, we’ve committed to having everything set, designed and loaded into our garage before we even begin the renovation process.
5. Paying hourly and only when the job is completed
We hired a lot of contractors for this job. We initially planned to do a lot of the work ourselves, but both of our businesses get really busy in the spring/summer so we didn’t end up doing half of what we had planned.
We don’t regret doing that because of time (even though it’s a lot more pricey) but in the future, we will only pay by the job and not by the hour.
We found that when we paid by the hour, contractors didn’t do their work as quickly and would take a lot more time off in between jobs because they had already been paid for the work they had done previously.
If they were paid by the hour and once the job was completed, they were much more time-conscious. I also believe they did a better job because they knew we would be looking at the entirety of the work (rather than a half-tiled shower, for example) before they were paid. In the future, we will only hire contractors who are paid by the job.
I hope this helps you all with your future fixer upper or home renovations! Thank you all so much for following along with us on this exciting journey. I seriously can’t wait to show you the final “after” photos!