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It sounded like such a good idea, right? Update the kitchen, do some painting, some new fixtures, maybe some landscaping and then you can sell your home for top dollar or create the home of your dreams. As the days turn into weeks, then months and your bank account slowly drains down, that perfect home starts to seem like just a pipe dream. You've fallen victim to the most common renovation problem: scope creep.
Scope creep is the general term for when your project gets expanded beyond its original borders either through intentional decisions or unintentional discoveries or mistakes. Once you’re down this path, the time and cost can start to grow exponentially.
You Don’t Have to Be a Victim
Even the best-laid plans can fall to the wayside when the unexpected happens, but you can prevent scope creep from happening to you by planning for a variety of eventualities and getting help from professionals. First and foremost, pick what you want and stick with it. Mid-project changes nearly always increase the costs more than you think they will. Your builder will have budgeted for your original plans including pre-ordering fixtures and materials, finding ways to group orders together for better costs and planning for what’s best available in a particular season. When you change your mind after you place those orders or allocated any extra funds elsewhere, you can cascade your pricing up. You also lengthen your construction time, since you may have to wait for new fittings or materials to ship before completion of the work. This delay can push you into a new season, which can cause its own problems.
In addition to the problems you can cause, there are many factors out of your control. Remember that even if you have the most professional and realistic builder, any project estimate is just that: an estimate. They are guessing based on research and experience. That can come back to bite you when their regular suppliers are out of stock or have increase prices. Weather, even on the opposite side of the country, can affect the pricing and availability of materials, fixtures, and more, so keep that in mind when making your plans. The most dangerous unavoidable problem is the weather. Unexpected rain can slow or stop work even change how paint or grout dry and causing cracks in addition to delays. Nearly every pricing delay is also a budget increase and vice versa.
Use a Professional
While some things you can DIY, for large projects on a specific timeline, you’re best off getting the right help. An experienced builder is familiar with scope creep and should warn you about any changes you request and what they will do to your timeline and budget. Choose your builder near to when they make the bid so they can put in purchase orders and get the prices they quoted you. Spend some time thinking about what you want and be sure about your plan before getting estimates. Once you decide on that plan, stick to it. No matter how good your builder, they will still be giving you’re their best estimate, so always add at least 20-25% to both the time and cost estimates you receive.
Want to know the best renovations for your property? Ask your real estate professional for a recommendation!