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This time of year, many homeowners start to think about finally getting around to the renovation projects they’ve been putting off all summer. The intention is noble but the results may not be what they bargained for. Here are some common mistakes homeowners should avoid, brought to you by the home renovation experts at Alure Home Improvements.

In a nutshell, the most typical errors involve ignoring prep work, setting unrealistic goals, low-balling the budget, and neglecting safety.

It’s very important to anticipate the chaos factor that can arise in any renovation project. Pace your project and allow for the unexpected because things always get more complicated than you expect, especially if you’re not an experienced professional. Don’t start a big project on a Friday night that remains unfinished when it’s time to go back to work on Monday.

Whatever project you decide to do, put your personal safety first. You need goggles for your eyes, gloves for your hands, a good set of work boots for your feet (especially for your toes), and a well-stocked first-aid kit just in case. And if you’re going to be working with noisy power tools for an extended length of time, remember your ears.

You know that old adage: You get what you pay for. If you try to do it on the cheap, that’s the way it’ll end up. And if you can’t afford to do it, then you can afford to wait. Remember, once you tear down that wall, you may be surprised what you find on the other side. It could cost you a small fortune to fix. Also, when you plan your budget, remember that labor is one of the biggest expenses. Be realistic about the time involved, whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a professional.

Do it the right way, right away. Take the time to get it right and your time will not be wasted. Never put off your prep work. Professionals make it a priority. And they know the importance of saving time and money. Don’t get in over your head.

And if you’re not going to do the job yourself, at least know what you’re getting into before the project begins. Do your homework first so you can ask the right questions and keep tabs on what your contractor is up to. Not everyone is as reliable and trustworthy as the team at Alure Home Improvements.

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Make sure you have a well-thought-out plan before you embark on your renovations. Gutting everything may not be necessary; in fact, you could quickly get in over your head. Think about the scope of your project first. Don’t just go into it and clear everything out when it may not be necessary. A skilled professional would know immediately how to keep the project in perspective.

Hiring the wrong contractor is a mistake people make too late to rectify. If your job is too big for a weekend handyman or handywoman, then it makes sense to bring in the professionals from the get-go. Before you commit, interview the contractors first. Check their references and see what they’ve already done. Promises don’t build houses; people do. Here’s a simple test: How fast do these prospective contractors return your phone calls? A contractor who responds quickly is probably more responsible than the one who leaves you hanging. After all, committing to a renovation project is stressful enough, why compound the anxiety?

Remember: There’s no shame in bailing out of a project that proves more than your match. In fact, knowing your limitations is a sign of wisdom. The skilled professionals at Alure Home Improvements are ready to help you, no matter what stage you’re in. Of course, the earlier you consult them, the better the project will look—and the faster it’s likely to be completed to meet, and exceed, all your expectations.

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