As homeowners look to remodels as a way to make their space more enjoyable (and possibly even more valuable), there will be potential for major mistakes to be made. As a result, any upgrade to a home can cause excitement, anxiety, or even uncertainty.  Before you invest in a major renovation, make sure you aren’t committing these four grievous errors. [Also See: Which Home Improvements Offer the Best ROI?]

Trying too Hard

My wood kitchen cabinets were the hottest thing to hit a country home – in the 70’s.  Avoid trends that seem hot off the pages of a design catalog, and go for looks that can be customized every decade or so.  Visit homes that still have the same charm they had 100 years ago, and model your style decisions after their classy, flexible design staples.

Picking the Wrong Professionals

Is it an interior designer, carpenter, contractor, or architect that will best execute the vision for your remodel?  Not knowing the difference between the core competencies of home professionals can leave you with an unsound design, or worse, an unsafe structure.  Do a complete needs analysis of your dream design, and thoroughly research the best business for the job.

Banking on the Future

If you like the look of bamboo or feel that low VOC-paint is a safer choice for your home, go for it!  If you are looking for “green” products to somehow save you major cash down the road, however, you may be waiting awhile.  Solar water heaters, replacement windows, and wind-powered generators may take longer than you are on the earth to recoup the upfront expenses.  (As technology becomes more main stream, however, costs should go down.  If you do jump on a “green” home improvement solution, wait until a few years after it’s first introduced.)

Ignoring Your Infrastructure

As you upgrade your home, keep in mind that your basic systems may not be able to handle what you have planned.  An HE washer and dryer in the new laundry room may put pressure on your antique plumbing system; that new eco-friendly low-flow toilet may not play well with your rural septic system; older homes with only basic electrical capacity may find that complete overhaul is needed to accommodate even a simple under-the-sink instant water heater.  Understand what your home can deliver before you order that shiny new remodel.  The costs in necessary systems upgrades may be more than you bargained for.

Have you done a remodel on your home lately?  What regrets do you have?  What do you wish you had known before you got started?