In 1785, Robert Burns, the famous poet, penned the words, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” The words are as true today as they were over 200 years ago. This maxim is especially apt when referring to the home renovation schemes of homeowners. Unfortunately, unexpected mishaps are par for the course when people attempt to update their homes.
A Home Full of Unexpected Guests
Case in point: Keith Stivers, a contractor and president of Stivers Design LLC of Columbia Station, told a pair of homeowners that before he would repair their water-damaged ceiling, he wanted to inspect the roof for what he suspected was going to be a host of other problems. His prediction proved correct when during the course of his inspection he “uncovered a family of mice, a nest of centipedes and—as he suspected—lots of rotted wood and crumbling plaster walls.” Luckily, the family had planned in extra money to their renovation to cover this unwelcome surprise, but not all homeowners are so forward thinking.
Budget in an Extra 5-10%
With this and other cases in mind, Stivers has suggested that all homeowners “set aside 5 percent to 10 percent more than their budget for those unexpected discoveries.” And it won’t always be rotten wood or pests—Stivers said sometimes he runs across the remnants of past renovation projects that were poorly done or incomplete and he has to spend extra time and money repairing those.
Cheryl Reed, spokeswoman for Angie’s List, recommended, “Never pay for a project with cash. Always use a credit card so you have recourse in case something goes wrong.”
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