How to Avoid the "Seven Sins" of Remodeling

June 13, 2007   Source:

Gordon Gibson, CEO and founder of Gordon Gibson Construction, has come up with a list of the seven most common mistakes in the home renovation process. A resident of Marquez Knolls in Pacific Palisades, his insightful tip sheet can help educate homeowners before disaster ever strikes.

1. PRIDE: "I can do everything myself; I don't need any help!"

Know you cannot do it all and that the hired architects and contractors are there to help you meet your goals.

Gibson's Absolution: Homeowners should spend quality time with both the architects and contractors in order to understand what services they provide and what roles they play in the renovation process.

2. LUST: "I must work with this architect on my home, under any circumstance. If I don't, I can't go on!" Don't lust after certain contractors and architects. If it's the right fit, you'll know.

Gibson's Absolution: Check references carefully. Past clients are a good source of information, as are state licensing boards and local associations.

3. GREED: "I want it all, but at a discount!"

The scale of renovation will determine the overall cost. Don't be greedy if the budget doesn't allow for it.

Gibson's Absolution: Architects should give homeowners a thorough understanding of how much the entire project will cost--from drawings to completion, including plans, permits and furnishings. Take the expert's advice to heart and don't chisel the budget beyond recognition. If you do, you're eliminating years of professional experience and even building safety issues unknowingly.

4. GLUTTONY: Your eyes are bigger than your pocketbook.

Neither the homeowner nor the architect should be gluttonous about their suggestions. Each is there to guide each other towards a common goal.

Gibson's Absolution: Homeowners should know what they want to spend, given their budgetary and space constraints (i.e. elevations, layout of major rooms), before letting artistic freedom go to the architect.

5. ANGER: "You're fired!"

It is important to be patient with your contractor. Do not get heated about the timeframe of your project, unless the project is months behind schedule.

Gibson's Absolution: Understand the time constraints of your project before you take it on. Know going in that an 8,000+ square-foot home can take one to two years to complete.

6. SLOTH: I'm too tired to make a decision now; maybe later."

It is important for homeowners to make decisions in a timely manner, to avoid delays.

Gibson's Absolution: Homeowners should acknowledge their role as decision maker and make timely and prudent decisions; otherwise it will delay the renovation process and, as they say, time is money.

7. ENVY: "Why doesn't it look like the picture?"

Once your renovation is finished, do not look back and wish you had done it differently.

Gibson's Absolution: Do a little homework on your own before the initial meeting with architects and contractors so you can carefully articulate your goals. Homeowners should communicate the basic design concepts and how they want them reflected in their home. Once you initial the drawing, you're giving the architect and builder absolute approval.