If you’ve remodeled or renovated a home (or seen it happen on TV), then you’re likely well aware that surprises are to be expected. While a home inspection at the time of sale should catch the obvious issues, some problems may fester deep within your walls or simply pop up throughout the proceeding years of use.
Granted, not every surprise during home renovations is the end of the world. You may, for instance, discover a trove of cash buried beneath your floorboards, or a long-lost love letter to a former resident. But such discoveries do not occur nearly as frequently as finding out that something else needs fixing and your budget just took a hit.
To prepare you for your own future renovations and remodels, we’ve outlined three of the most common and most aggravating surprises which you may encounter along the way. Starting off with…
The bane of any homeowner, water damage is always insidious, often silent and unnoticed, and potentially catastrophic. Within minutes, water can seep into your structure and begin to cause significant harm to any wet-sensitive materials. Walls begin to stain and blister, and wood floors may warp beyond repair. Within days, harmful mold and microbes begin to grow. Eventually, mold may become so prevalent that residents must be evacuated due to unsafe conditions.
Left unchecked, water damage may harm your home’s structural integrity and spread hazardous mold so extensively that entire portions must be torn down and rebuilt. While your homeowners insurance will typically cover these repairs, you are still potentially out of your home for weeks in the meantime. Not to mention the headache of dealing with insurance and contractors in an already stressful situation.
To prevent water damage, stay on top of your home maintenance both inside and outside. Clean your gutters and maintain trees and foliage with deep roots which might break a pipe. Check appliances for leaks, and if you spot any sign of water damage be sure to act quickly. The sooner you can stop the incursion of water where it shouldn’t be, the less damage your home will sustain. And if you discover mold and water damage during renovations, at least count yourself lucky that you discovered it when you did! While you’re at it, consider replacing any old galvanized plumbing with newer PVC or copper pipes.
Back in the day, our walls were decorated with lead paint and insulated with asbestos. Only later did we come to know that these materials were entirely unfit to be used in our homes. Nowadays, safer materials are used, but many homes built at least several decades ago are still rife with these dangerous substances.
Left alone, asbestos and lead won’t cause you much grief. However, renovations which disturb these hazardous materials can spread dangerous dust and powder all over your home. Therefore, before starting any major home renovations, be sure that you know what you’re cutting into.
You can test for lead paint on your own using a home test kit such as these. To test for asbestos, you’ll need to contact a professional abatement service. If they discover problems, abatement service will run you roughly $75-200 an hour, according to HomeAdvisor. Lead abatement may cost you as little as $100 or as much as $20,000, depending on the size and scope of your project. Nevertheless, the price is well worth it for the safety of your family and guests.
Your home’s electrical wiring is hidden behind its walls, so these issues are often discovered in the midst of renovations. Common electrical hazards include defective or exposed wires, outlets close to water, old or corroded insulation, and outdated electrical design. The older your home, the more likely that its electrical grid is unsafe.
Like water damage, it is certainly a pain to discover electrical issues after you begin renovations, but you can at least be thankful that you’ve discovered them at all. Poor electrical wiring poses a significant fire hazard, and upgrading outdated systems means a safer home for you and your loved ones.
Installing new electrical wiring can be a tedious and costly process because it is all behind your walls. That makes renovations the perfect time to upgrade your electrical systems. While you’re at it, you can install new smart home features like a smart thermostat or lighting controls. Take advantage of the work you’re already planning to make your home more safe and more modern!
Get Help You Can Trust
The issues covered above are just three of the many surprises you may encounter during a home remodel or renovation. Most important of all, remember to add some breathing room in your budget to deal with unforeseen problems, and make sure that you trust your hired help.
As long-time local real estate agents, we are well acquainted with excellent and trustworthy services in your area, and we’d be happy to connect you with the help that you need. Let us know your plans – we always love to chat about real estate!