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First-Time Home Renovators? You’ll Want to Avoid These Common Mistakes

May 24, 2022
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Avoid these common mistakes and you will have a good chance of finishing the project without any significant hiccups!

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Home renovation can be a daunting task, especially if this is your first time doing it. And with a myriad of decisions that need to be made during the process, many homeowners, unfortunately, find themselves making choices that result in unnecessary cost, project completion delays and stress.

Four Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur by Blaine Robert Design

Interior Firm: Blaine Robert Design

So, before you begin your home renovation project, be aware of these common mistakes and learn how to avoid them. We hope that these tips can make your renovation experience less stressful and more enjoyable!

Mistake 1. Prioritising design over function

When renovating, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the beauty of your home’s aesthetics and lose sight of its functionality. Of course, you want your home to look nice, but it also needs to be functional or practical. This is especially important in daily-use areas of your home, such as the kitchen, living room, or bedroom.

West Side 3, Desa Park City by Amaze Design Sdn Bhd

Interior Firm: Amaze Design Sdn Bhd

For example, an all-white fabric sofa would look great in your modern living room, but it may not be the best choice for families with small children or pets who are prone to staining your new white furniture. As a result, it will take more time, effort, and money to keep it clean.

Mistake 2. Choosing to do it yourself (DIY) rather than hiring a professional

Thanks to YouTube and the HGTV Home Makeover TV series, first-time homeowners frequently make the mistake of believing they can undertake an entire home renovation project on their own. However, attempting to do it all by yourself can lead to unanticipated errors that can turn into costly renovation mistakes.

Akasa, Cheras South by Anwill Design Sdn Bhd

Interior Firm: Anwill Design Sdn Bhd

Things like painting, laying tile, and installing flooring might be doable. But more complicated works such as plumbing, carpentry or electrical work should always be left to professionals, especially if you don’t have the right skills to do it. Even if you are extremely handy, the last thing you want to do is cause delays to your entire project. You will also most likely have to incur additional costs, your work quality will begin to deteriorate, and the ongoing maintenance fees will continue to mount.

Mistake 3. Hiring the wrong interior designer for the job

Another common mistake that new homeowners make when renovating their new home is failing to thoroughly vet their interior design firm. And sometimes, they hire the first interior design firm or contractor they speak with.

Not all interior designers are created equal. Some firms specialise in residential projects, others in commercial projects, some in villas and bungalows while others specialise in aged properties. That's why you need to choose the right firm with the necessary skills, and experience for the project. With the right professionals, you’re less likely to run into problems.

Inwood Residence, Kuala Lumpur by Ambient Design Studio

Interior Firm: Ambient Design Studio

When choosing a suitable interior design firm for your renovation project, make a list of questions to ask every designer you meet with and take notes. Are they certified and insured? What is their experience with projects like the one you want to undertake? How long have they been in operation? You can also request to see previous clients' testimonials and project portfolios.

Once you've narrowed down your top candidates, request quotes that clearly break down the cost of supplies and labour as well as the estimated time to completion. Then go over all of the information you've gathered before you decide to commit. You should also conduct your interview or search as early as possible – say, three months before the key collection date. This gives you plenty of time to make the best decision possible without feeling rushed.

Mistake 4. Settling on the lowest price quote

Once you've received quotes from design firms, it's tempting to go with the lowest price, especially now that material costs have increased. However, the lowest bid does not always imply the best job. Some may provide you with a low-cost quote in order to win the job, only to cut corners or install low-quality products. Some might even charge you an unexpected extra fee! You may also end up paying more in the long run because you will have to hire other professionals to fix errors or redo the sloppy job entirely.

The Effingham, Bandar Utama by Ee Design Studio

Interior Firm: Ee Design Studio

When comparing design firm quotes, look for an average price. If one of the firms' prices is too low or too high, they may not be right for you. You can also speak with friends, family or neighbours who have completed similar home renovations to get an idea of how much you will have to pay. And if you're debating between two good options, go with the one with whom you feel most comfortable working with.

Mistake 5. Skimping on quality

When you spend a lot of money on a renovation, you want the improvements to last and make the biggest difference in the long run. So, when it comes to selecting the best building materials for your renovation project, don't skimp on quality.

Setia Residence by ZOGE Interior & Build (M) Sdn. Bhd.

Cheap materials, such as particle board for cabinets and countertops, usually get the most wear and tear, so make sure you use a durable, high-quality material that won't need to be replaced in a few years. If you can't afford to renovate your entire home with high-quality materials, invest in items that are hard to replace, such as built-in cabinets, flooring, or a kitchen island, rather than ones that you can improve later when you have more money (e.g., the faucet, knobs).

Mistake 6. Making last-minute changes or changing your mind mid-project

Once your renovation works have started, try your best to stick with your plans. Because once the work begins, changes become more difficult and costly. You should also keep in mind that placing an order or re-ordering takes time, so making any last-minute changes may cause delays in your renovation completion time, not to mention additional expenses on your part. And sometimes the outcome falls short of your expectations.

The Capers, Kuala Lumpur by Pocket Square

Interior Firm: Pocket Square

If you are indecisive, take your time and start the renovation work only when you are completely certain about your preferences, desired materials, and appliances, to avoid wasting more time and money.

Mistake 7. Making a renovation with a low return on investment

Any home improvement project may be worthwhile if it makes you happy, but if you intend to sell your home at some point, focus on projects that provide a good return on investment (ROI).

Paloma Residence, Subang Jaya by Wuuu Studio

Interior Firm: Wuuu Studio

While home renovations can cost hundreds of thousands of ringgits, they do not always increase the value of your home. Some changes will help you get a much higher selling price when it comes time to sell, while others may cause you to lose money on the sale.

For instance, while patterned tile in the kitchen may appeal to the homeowner, it may be a major turnoff for prospective buyers because not everyone shares your interest or taste. Stick to renovation projects that are universally loved, such as using neutral colours and minimal patterns instead.

Ready to embark on a renovation journey?

Send us your request for a free quote, and we can connect you with up to four interior design firms to assist you with your upcoming home renovation based on your budget and needs.

All recommendations made by Qanvast will be protected under the Qanvast Guarantee scheme that covers 50% of your contract value, up to RM50,000, in the case that the recommended Contracting Service Provider becomes insolvent.

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