Today’s column is guest written by Megan a DIY geek, a camping lover and a happy mom of 2 who works with Grizzly Tarps. She writes just about anything, from giving you an advice on how to go about your date to sharing her personal experience in relationship how tos.

Renovating your home is not something you do too often. Sometimes, it takes a few months or years before you realize that yeah – your home needs some improvement. This is why like many homeowners, you are also prone to committing mistakes. Not only are these mistakes tedious and stressful, they could be very costly as well.

The good news is it doesn’t always have to be that way! Whether it’s your first time renovating your house or you’ve done it a couple of times in the past, there are surefire ways to avoid some of the most common home renovation nightmares. By following these tips and suggestions, your next home renovation project will surely be a success!

Choose the right contractor

It all starts with hiring only the best home renovation contractor. Remember that you will have to rely on their knowledge and expertise. Thus, choosing the right one is a top priority. If you couldn’t get referrals from friends or relatives, take time comparing contractors. The key is checking everything – from their credentials, experience, specialization, certifications and training. Make sure that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. You can always check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in your area to see if there have been complaints filed against the contractors you’ve shortlisted.

Set a budget and stick to it

Home renovation can be costly and you can even go overboard if you don’t set a budget and stick to it. This is the hardest part and most homeowners have troubles dealing with. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to calculate for the cost of your home renovation project. Just follow these simple steps:

Ballpark the cost – major upgrades such as bathroom remodeling or room addition normally ranges from $100-$200 per square foot. Do get quotes from at least three legitimate home renovation contractors to get a more precise figure for the cost.

Establish a spending limit – the extent of your home renovation project will depend on the budget you allocated. Establish a minimum and maximum budget and stick to it.

Set your priorities. You can greatly reduce the cost of renovating your home by knowing what to prioritize. If you’re after functionality over high-end design, you’re likely to spend less. Enlist your contractor for suggestions to reduce the cost.

Have a plan and stick to it

Just as you want to stick to a budget you’ve initially identified, you also want to stick to your renovation plans. Changing your plan in the middle of the renovation work is never a good idea and could lead to unnecessary spending. Review your plan and discuss it with your contractor. This way, you get to avoid surprise changes and added costs along the way.

Avoid DIYing if you’re not 100% sure on what to do

Doing it yourself sounds a great idea especially if you’re looking to reduce costs and practice your artistic and technical skills. But if you haven’t had a first-hand experience with renovating a house, it might be something that’s worth letting the pros handle. Some mistakes might be difficult to undo and might even require more money to repair or reverse. If you accidentally damaged your roof or floor, you may temporarily cover it with tarps or any other waterproof material to prevent further damage until such time that the professional contractors arrive.

Keep an open communication with your contractor

The success of your home renovation project depends on how well you and your contractor communicate. If you have questions or clarifications about certain aspects of the project, regardless if it’s about the materials, timeframe, or any other issue – don’t hesitate to bring it up. Communication is the key.

Avoid unsafe work practices

Unless you’re living alone and you’re not bothered by the mess, you have to be clear about establishing clean work practices in your home. Some contractors think it’s okay to leave the worksite messy overnight or until the renovation is done. But this could spell ‘injury’ and ‘disaster’ especially if you have kids or pets. Be clear on your house rules and inform your contractor that they should observe cleanliness in the worksite before leaving each day.

Don’t turn your home renovation dream into a nightmare. Take time to research on the best contractor to work with, set a budget and stick to it, make a plan and discuss it with your contractor before the project starts, and avoid DIYing unless you’re confident about doing it right. Lastly, always communicate with your contractor and ask them to implement clean and organized work practices at all times. With these steps, you’re one step closer to making your home a better and more beautiful place to live in.

Contact Arkansas Realtors® Association or visit for more information about selling or buying a home in your area.

House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association. For more information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit