For many, home renovations are becoming a part of life. This is in part due to the countless HGTV programs we love, and the practical need in places like Toronto. With aging housing stock and high property costs, more and more Torontonians need to fix, improve and update their house to create a home. Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions that often lead homeowners to make bad assumptions about renovations, ending up in uncomfortable places. Enjoy the first in a two-part series on the biggest and baddest assumptions homeowners make.

1. HGTV projects provide good budgeting guidelines.

Many assume the renovation costs HGTV programs share at the end of their programs accurately reflect what a similar reno would cost. This is untrue. Much is left out for various reasons (here’s a Property Brothers example). But most importantly, every project and house is different. The cost provided during HGTV programs is not typically the amount the average homeowner would pay to achieve the same result. MoneySense analyzed the provided costs from a 2013 episode of Income Property with Scott McGillivray.

2. You can transform your house into anything you desire.

Like the human body, houses are designed and built to function in a particular way. Not all changes make sense in consideration of the existing structure and systems, like heating and ventilation. Also, the costs required for such transformations may not represent good value from one home to the next. This is often one of the most disappointing bad assumptions about renovations. If you’re planning significant change, you might be better off starting from scratch. Rebuilding offers a blank canvas, renovation does not.

3. Renovating is a cheap and easy way to update the home.

Renovation projects that seem simple in one context may be overly complex and too expensive in yours, especially in older homes. You have to work with the pre-existing structure, which may have more limitations than you know. Potential unknowns related to how the structure has aged, and work previous owners have done add risk. It can be a Pandora’s box once you begin, becoming more expensive and complicated than intended, and not worth it.

4. DIY is a great way to save money on a renovation project.

Most homeowners do not have the skill set and experience required to successfully complete a home renovation project, or even to take on smaller aspects of it. The outcome will not be of the same calibre as if it were done by professionals. More money will be spent on tools you might not otherwise own but need, additional materials as you learn to “get things right” and possibly for professionals to fix mistakes. There’s also a hidden cost of the extra time this is going to require.

5. The sooner I start building, the sooner my project will be finished.

While this may seem logical, this is often not the case, especially if the pre-rebuild planning is inadequate. The absence of a thorough and well thought-out plan that covers all the bases creates more hiccups and headaches during the build phase, as well as eats up more money. Patience, attention to detail and consulting appropriate experts in the planning stage will save time and headaches in the build phase, getting you into your renovated home as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Thinking about making change to your home?

Remove the risk of bad assumptions about renovations by learning what these projects are really like so you can plan and budget accordingly. Explore your options before you commit time, money and energy to anything. We can help.

For a limited time I invite you to book a free Should I Stay or Should I Go Home Audit, to help you decide your best next move. Book before September 30th including KL0930 in the comments field to get started on the right foot.

Read Part II of the Top Ten Bad Assumptions Homeowners Make About Renovations.