Don’t Make These 5 Renovation Mistakes

Are you planning a home renovation? It’s an exciting process, but it can also be overwhelming. To help you avoid common pitfalls, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 mistakes to avoid when renovating your home.

If you follow this advice and our guide to planning a home renovation, you’ll be sure to have a smooth process to your dream home!


Mistake #1: Not Setting a Realistic Budget

Although you may have creative design ideas for your home renovation, you shouldn’t get creative with your budget. Your budget should be realistic and fully detailed before you start any project. Don’t make the mistake of getting carried away with trends and other possibilities and forget about the costs. Along with your base budget, be sure to include about a 10% “surprise” or safety reserve that you can pull from in case of an unexpected expense. A good example are permits and materials that may cost more than you initially thought.


Mistake #2: Failing to Plan Ahead

Another common mistake is failing to plan ahead. Renovations can be time-consuming and stressful but you can alievate some of the pain by planning and being prepared. You can plan effectively by creating a timeline, selecting a contractor, and deciding on paint colors and materials.

If you need a handy workbook to keep all of your reno plans together, check out our planner templates to planning a home renovation which contains checklists and worksheets that will be critical to your next project!

renovation planner pages

Mistake #3: Ignoring the Neighborhood


Your home’s value is closely tied to the neighborhood value and other comparable homes in the area (that’s why you always hear “location, location, location!”). For example, if your home is in an area with home values around $500k, you would not want to invest $1M in renovations. Not only will your house no longer fit in with the neighborhood but you are unlikely to retain your home’s value when/if you decided to sell.

If you are purposefully wanting to make your home stand out from the other homes in your neighborhood, we would recommend consulting with a real estate professional (agent, interior designer, etc) to ensure you investing into renovation projects that are both unique but valuable to buyers.


Mistake #4: Choosing the Wrong Contractor

Choosing the wrong contractor can be a very costly mistake. Even though it may seem to be time consuming to vet a handful of contractors, it doesn’t compare to the time lost if you choose the wrong one. So make sure to do your research and pick a reputable contractor with a proven track record, or good reviews. Don’t be afraid to either ask for references or as many questions as you need.


Mistake #5: Skipping Permits

You might be tempted to skip a permit or two in order to save time and/or money, but that is a mistake that could have serious consequences. We’re talking fines and legal trouble, not to mention this mistake will make it harder to sell your home in the future. So before you start your demolition, check with your local government or preferred general contractor for any necessary permits before starting any renovations.


Renovating your home can be quite a rewarding experience when you are able to avoid these common mistakes. By setting a realistic budget, planning ahead, being mindful of nearby home values, choosing the right contractor, and getting necessary permits, you can avoid costly mistakes and create a renovation you’ll love.


If you need specific ideas of renovation projects that could add value to your home, check out our list here!

Renovation Inspiration


Hammer & Handsaw

Hammer & Handsaw

Hey, we’re Joshua and Dejené. We’ve completed several home renovations and decided to share what we’ve learned in the process. Here you’ll find our favorite DIY projects, tutorials and home renovation stories.

Hammer and Handsaw features affiliate links throughout this website. If you make a purchase from one of the links, we may make a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. View our full privacy policy here and thank you for your support!

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Plan Your Next Home Renovation Like a Pro


Our Home Renovation Planner is a complete collection of the most common useful planning and renovation management tools that you NEED for your next home project.

Vetted and written by a general contractor, this planner will become a staple for newbie DIYers, homeowners and professionals alike.


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