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5 Outer Banks Renovation Mistakes

(1) Failure to Obtain a Building PermitPlanning

To most Outer Banks homeowners it seems crazy to have to obtain permission to renovate your own kitchen or bathroom. After all, it’s your home and you know what you want and money is tight. So why should you have to get a permit if you’re going to do the job yourself?

We at Outer Banks Remodeling can appreciate that, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. And besides yourself, there are a few others that can be affected by how you do your Outer Banks renovation. The insurance company that insures your house, the bank that finances the mortgage, potential future buyers, and of course your family that lives in the house can all be affected.

The permitting process is designed to ensure that all work is done based on standards and guidelines developed by professionals. Those who likely know a lot more than you do about home renovations. It isn’t always efficient, or convenient, but it is necessary.

If you get caught on the Outer Banks or Northeast NC working without a permit and a stop work order is issued, you will have to halt your renovation and take the necessary steps to be in compliance. In such cases that the work is permitted to continue, a  fee may be assessed and any illegal work that is not in compliance with the building code must be removed.

(2) Not Having a Real Plan

When a contractor does renovation work they first draw up a set of plans to guide them through the work. These plans help the contractor budget, determine materials needed, schedule the project and factor in time delays for permits and other items.

Your plan should outline all work that will occur, set expectations, and provide a means for tracking work as it is done. Most importantly, a renovation plan is more likely to keep your project on time and on budget.

(3) Not Having a Budget

It is so easy for remodeling project costs to double or triple without a budget. Decisions made without considering the overall project can turn a project into a financial nightmare. Consider the decisions you have to make when renovating you Outer Banks kitchen.

You have to decide if you will use the existing space or expand it, do you refinish the existing cabinets or replace them, do you keep or replace appliances, go with granite countertops or a less expensive option, hardwoods, laminate or tile floors, keep existing lighting or add new lighting and much, much more.

The cost for each can vary significantly and without a budget you can find that your kitchen remodel has suddenly tripled in price. A budget keeps you focused on the tradeoffs in decisions to allow you to get the best kitchen at the best price.

(4) Going Cheap

We have just discussed staying on budget, but there are times when you may need to rethink your budget. Spending a little bit more can at times make sense financially. It can also be the difference between having a renovation that you love and enjoy verses one that you just tolerate.

Some things you should consider in your budget and project planning are what effect will your purchase decisions have on the value of your home, how they will impact the usefulness of your renovated space and how will it impact you from a comfort perspective. Somewhere between cheap and high end you should be able to find quality products that make sense for your project.

If you’re going to do it yourself, that also extends to the tools you purchase for the project. For example, let’s say you want to put up crown molding in your house. To cut the angles for the moldings you will need to plan on purchasing a mitre saw, and not the cheap plastic miter box if you want nice tight joints. The quality of your tools will definitely impact the quality of your finished project.

(5) What You Don’t Know Can Cost You

What you don’t know can cost you money. For just about any project you can now go online and find written instructions or even a video on how to do it. That’s great for specific tasks such as laying a hardwood floor, installing a dishwasher, etc. But when you’re talking about something like a kitchen or bathroom remodel, you have to consider each piece as part of the whole and how everything works together for your particular space.

Written instructions or a video can’t account for unique aspects of your project. Each project has its own challenges.


There are projects that can be done by the average do-it-yourselfer and then there are projects probably best left to a professional. You’ll have to put some time into thinking about your Outer Banks renovation to decide which way to proceed.

If you need help with your Outer Banks renovation needs contact Outer Banks Remodeling at 252-455-4926, email us at, or complete our contact form. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!