11 biggest remodeling mistakes

Being careless with your contractor

Even after vetting potential contractors, homeowners still make mistakes.

They choose generalists instead of specialists and end up with a lesser quality of work.

They don’t check licenses carefully enough and end up with a licensed carpenter doing their electrical work.

They might even let a contractor convince them to write a large check up front. After all, he has to buy materials, and he’s going to set aside days if not weeks for your project. If you cancel, he’ll have no work and no income.

Check with your state’s contractors licensing board for rules about the maximum deposit a contractor can ask for. It might be 10% or $1,000.

“The most costly project is one that needs to be done twice because it wasn’t done right the first time,” says Barry Miller, president of Simply Baths and Showcase Kitchens, a design-build remodeling company in Monroe, Connecticut.

His company recently took over a job where the previous contractor took $6,000 from the client, did two days of work, then disappeared. The homeowner’s house has been torn apart for months.