11 biggest remodeling mistakes

Starting work without a contract and a plan

After choosing a contractor, it’s time to turn your specifications into a detailed, written contract that you and your contractor will sign.

This agreement should thoroughly describe the scope of work, the materials to be used, cleanup and debris removal, the total price and the payment schedule.

You should also develop a plan for the order in which the work will be done, especially on larger jobs, says Charlotte, North Carolina-based designer DeAnna Radaj, owner of Bante Design.

For example, you wouldn’t want to paint before having electrical work done, which might require opening up walls, and you wouldn’t want to put in new flooring before you paint, because paint could drip onto your new carpet or hardwood floors.

Deciding what order you will do the work in also helps you do major projects in chunks as your budget allows, Radaj says.

Make sure to update the contract anytime your plan changes.

It’s also important to conduct walk-throughs with your contractor on a daily basis, Radaj says, to make sure the work is on schedule and going as planned.