By Candis Meredith
Because Andy and I have been in the home renovation and remodeling business for years, I’ve gotten pretty used to expecting the unexpected. We’ve had so many crazy surprises with our remodeling projects that I never walk into a home expecting everything to go as planned and all of our budgets to work out exactly how we calculated them.
Of course, if you’re new to this business, just telling you that you’re going to have a lot of surprises along the way isn’t much help. So, thinking back on some of the crazy things that have happened in our renovations and some of the contingencies we’ve had to come up with, here are my top “unexpected” things you should be ready for with any remodeling job.
When You Find Asbestos
Asbestos used to be the go-to material for insulating pipes. If you’re renovating an older house, you can almost count on finding asbestos insulation on your pipes. If the asbestos hasn’t broken down, it won’t be airborne and won’t cause a problem. That said, it can still be a turn-off for your buyers. If you’re renovating an old house, expect to encounter asbestos and budget to have the home inspected for airborne asbestos or other asbestos-related problems.
When Things Get Dusty and Dirty
If you’re like us, you’re not going to be living in most of the houses that you renovate, so dust won’t be the biggest problem in the world. However, you should plan for things getting really dusty and dirty before they get cleaned up again. Don’t plan on painting the kitchen if you’re hanging drywall in the living room at the same time. Creating an ordered plan for your renovation projects will help with this a lot.
When You Have to Go Over Budget
No matter how well you look everything over and how thorough your inspector is, you’re going to come across surprises. And they’re not always going to be the pleasant kind. You’ll find out that the whole place needs to be rewired because the previous owner tried to save money by cutting corners. You’ll have black mold in the bathroom or attic. The pipes will all be rotted out.
In other words, you’re going to go over budget because you’re going to run into things that you didn’t budget for. That’s why I always round up on all of our budgeting, and I always add an “other” section for each room’s budget. This gives us more wiggle room when we encounter expensive problems.
When You Have to Push Your Deadline Back
Because we’re more focused on doing our renovations right and getting our homes restored to their former splendor and less on flipping houses fast, we don’t have the tight time restrictions that a lot of real estate investors have. We do have deadlines, though, and sometimes we have to go over them – usually because we’ve run into those unpleasant surprises that made us go over budget.
Just like with your budget, try to plan for the unexpected and give yourself some padding with your deadlines. I always prefer to under-promise and over-deliver than to tell a client or potential buyer that we’ll be done four weeks or more before we’re actually able to finish the project.
There you go – four times that you should definitely expect the unexpected on your renovation projects. Whether you’re renovating your own home or working on an investment property, you can save yourself a lot of time, stress, and money if you do at least a little bit of planning for these issues.