“You have to look at having at least 20% to 25% [more] money on the side of your project,” she advises, “just in case of unforeseen conditions.”
3. Order materials early
Backorders and slow order fulfillment can stop renovations in their tracks. That’s why it’s essential to select and order tiles, fixtures and other materials your contractor requests as early as possible. It’s also crucial to choose products that are in stock and can be delivered quickly.
“Make sure you have everything ready and available,” Davila says. “You don’t want to order something and find out you’re on hold for six weeks, and your whole project stops for that item.”
4. Pay attention to permits
To maintain building codes and regulations, renovations often require permits. Be aware that the larger your project is, the longer it may take for permit approval — and for very large jobs, it could take months.
Professional contractors generally have a good feel for permit requirements and lead times and should know when to file to keep your project on schedule. Merrick warns that if a contractor asks you to get a permit yourself, that’s a major red flag.
“Any time a contractor asks a homeowner to pull a permit, there’s a reason,” he cautions. “They’re either lazy or they’re not properly licensed. They’re usually doing it because they’re not licensed.”