I wanted to share this story just as a bit of a warning to other remodelers. When I moved into my house in Mission Viejo 7 years ago, a lot of renovation work had already been done. There was some flooring that needed extending, lots of odd job type repairs, painting and a bit of drywall. That’s not much I thought. I don’t really need a main contractor for that. I wasn’t working at the time so was confident I could be around to supervise the different sub contractors. I really thought this would save me money! Well it didn’t. Thank God it worked out OK in the end and the stress of the process had the added benefit of causing me to lose 10 lbs!  But I would never do it again.

First of all my budget kept expanding because I had not sat down and planned what I wanted in detail. Everything was piecemeal with decisions made as I went along. Far more work needed doing than I had anticipated. For example I removed some old fashioned wood cladding from the living room walls only to find that the drywall was not in good condition and needed redoing. The electrical wiring needed more upgrades than I thought I would need.

When it is not your area of expertise, it is hard to supervise anyone. I had no idea whether my subcontractors were doing a good job and they would change quite frequently so I was seeing different faces all the time.

I made the mistake of paying the partner of my flooring guy with a check made out to him personally. No real paperwork. All very vague. But he had a plausible story and we had been getting along great. Turns out the partners were having difficulties between themselves and the guy ran off with the check never to be seen again!

I know I am making myself sound really stupid but it is easy to get taken in. And it is hard not to get tempted by a big saving. Even if you think your reno job is small, I would get a proper estimate, get everything in writing and definitely work with a general contractor.