Common Mistakes When Renovating Old Homes in Maryland and Washington, DC

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Everyone loves watching a home get flipped.

The renovators start with an old dud of a home – siding falling off, laughably outdated interior, ugly carpeting, buckling floors – you get the picture. They could tear it down and build a new one from scratch, but there’s something about this home, and maybe all it needs is a bit of TLC. You just know that underneath it all, this home is worth the extra effort, and will shine up like a new penny.

It would be super satisfying to see these properties go through an extreme makeover and come out looking beautiful and fresh. But tackling a renovation on an old home is trickier than it may appear on the surface. 

It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to older homes. Even professionals make them from time to time. But if you are dead-set on renovating an old house, take a look at this list of these common mistakes. When you know what to expect, you can avoid the classic blunders and come out on the other side with an amazing finished product.

1. Old Home Renovation Mistake #1: Underestimating the Cost

There will inevitably be hidden or unexpected costs when renovating any home. But when it comes to an older home, you can bet that number will increase significantly. The older the house is, the more expensive it will be to renovate it.

Older homes are often built with materials that are harder to find in modern marketplaces. You’ll likely have to order online and have them shipped to you or, if you are focused on authenticity, have them custom-made. You may need builders with specialized skills who are familiar with older homes, and you can bet that as you look deeper into the house, you’ll find lots of things you didn’t initially expect.

If you fail to budget appropriately, your project may end up stalling before the finish line. Create a thorough, detailed budget, and make sure to leave float for any unexpected costs that may arise. This will ensure that you don’t overspend.

winthorpe design build remodeling an old house2. Old Home Renovation Mistake #2: Not Getting a Second Opinion

Everyone is going to have an opinion. That’s why you should solicit the advice of more than one industry professional. When considering which team you want to work with, take the time to get an estimate from another designer or contractor. Some contractors will promise the moon, while others will tell you it’s not possible. The key is to work with a firm you trust, ideally one that has experience with older homes.

Make sure to ask plenty of questions. The more you know, the more you can ensure that you’re getting quality, professional service from your team. A second opinion will allow you to compare costs and the design process of different professionals.

3. Old Home Renovation Mistake #3: Choosing The Wrong Team

They say good help is hard to find. This is especially true when it comes to renovating an older home. You need a team that’s knowledgeable, experienced, and shares your design vision for the home. Your designers and contractors should be on the same page from the start – both with you and with each other. 

Does your team understand your style? Have you discussed your priorities? Do they know your budget, and will they respect its limitations? If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, you owe it to yourself to dig a little deeper. 

winthorpe design build remodeling an old house4. Old Home Renovation Mistake #4: Cutting Corners

The last thing you want to do with an older home is to cut corners. Sure, you may be saving time and money in the short-term, but those cut corners will likely come back to haunt you.

Don’t skimp out on materials. This doesn’t mean you should go out and buy the best or most expensive material on the market. You should make selections that work for you in terms of style, function, and affordability. Don’t choose something simply because it’s the cheapest thing going.

Substandard components or inexperienced labor and installation will almost always cause issues for you down the road. You may have to revisit where you initially saved and spend more time and money doing it over. Invest wisely for a great result the first time around! 

Winthorpe’s design-build process ensures that your renovation will turn out exactly how you envisioned it. Above all, we want you to feel good about your choices and love the finished product, and we’ll do everything in our power to make that happen. Reach out today, and let’s talk about transformation!

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