Avoid These 5 Remodeling Mistakes for Los Angeles Homes

Los Angeles is an amazing place to live, which is why it is home to 4 million people. Due to the large population, housing prices have skyrocketed, prompting many homeowners to opt for remodeling rather than buying a home. If you find yourself in this position, keep in mind these 5 remodeling mistakes commonly found in Los Angeles.

The best thing about living in Los Angeles? Where do you start? It’s Southern California, it’s the hub for fashion, sunshine, trends, and pop culture!

The worst thing? Possibly housing prices. The good news is that you can accomplish major remodeling projects on your existing space without approaching the cost of a new home.

From Mission Style to Mid-Century Modern, stucco to sleek glass facades, you’re exposed to a lot of different styles in the region.

Southern California can sometimes seem to exist in a whole other world, and your remodeling project can reflect those local idiosyncrasies.

The Most Common Remodeling Mistakes Found in Los Angeles

Before you start your process of looking at paint samples, mood boards, and floor plans, make sure that you don’t make these remodeling mistakes.

LA has many codes and regulations that must be followed for your remodeling project. It’s important to find someone who is familiar with these codes.

5 remodeling mistakes that we commonly see during Los Angeles home remodeling includes:

  1. Refusing to get your house inspected by a licensed professional
  2. Neglecting to keep your mind open and search for the latest innovations
  3. Not having an idea of what remodeling projects are necessary for you
  4. Setting an unrealistic budget
  5. Choosing unreliable contractors

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Get Your House Inspected by a Professional

For major jobs, it’s always best to start out with a qualified professional inspection of your home.

You may not realize that California doesn’t require home inspectors to be licensed.

You’ll want to check their credentials, and being certified by the  California Real Estate Inspectors Association is an excellent qualification to ensure that they’ll do the best job, while being familiar with all the requirements.

Your inspector will evaluate everything from structure to plumbing and heating systems. Don’t even think of starting the renovation process without consulting one.

Mistake #2: Not Looking for New Ideas or Innovations

No, not shopping for new windows! Get out there and explore your neighborhood, and neighborhoods where you admire the homes.

You’ll find out what works best in your part of the city, and what doesn’t.

You may find that some paint colors don’t age well in the California sun, get some ideas on how to color your stucco, or even see some wrought iron exterior elements you’d like to add to your remodeling project.

You’ll also be able to see what blends well with your neighborhood’s style – and what sticks out like a sore thumb.

Home shows are another great way to learn about the latest in innovations and styles that work well for our area.

It’s one of the few times that you’ll be able to stock up on information and brochures from a wide variety of businesses – and you’ll get lots of inspiration.

Mistake #3: Not Knowing What Projects You Need Done

Before you even begin interviewing contractors, make some hard decisions. This is the time to ask yourself what you want to accomplish, and why.

You may need to add an additional office space, due to your changing work style or growing family.

  • — Perhaps you are looking at adding an additional living space for older relatives.
  • — Maybe your only dream since you purchased your home was to expand your kitchen and make it a baking wonderland.

When you’re able to communicate these specific goals to your contractor, you’ll be able to tap into their knowledge on how to make those renovation dreams happen.

Don’t forget to think about the style of your home. With the variety of architectural styles in Los Angeles, it’s often important to find the right contractors who specialize in yours.

There are special circumstances that go along with working on

You’ll want to maintain the look of your home without violating any HOA rules or city codes. The right contractor will be aware of all these restrictions, saving you from headaches.

Mistake #4: Creating a Poorly-Planned Budget

One of the biggest remodeling mistakes we see is not properly creating a budget.

Once you have your goals in mind, set your budget. And, once you set your budget, add on an additional 20% as a reserve.

Don’t move ahead unless you can assure that you have that cushion in place.

Although your contractor is the best source of estimating a budget, you can get an idea of what you’re looking at though using cost calculators.

Again – know your goals, and you’ll be able to use something like this more effectively.

Remodeling is time-consuming, unforeseen expenses will pop up, and you may need to eat out a lot more than you expected.

With your budget pinned down, you’ll take at least 20% off your stress levels, and possibly have a surplus at the end of the project.

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Mistake #5: Choosing Unreliable Contractors

Don’t go with the first company you interview. You’ll want to talk to at least three remodeling contractors to get a feel for the actual scope of your project and any problems that you didn’t foresee.

Once you’re comfortable with your plan, you should make sure that the contractor passes your own vetting process.

  • — A good construction firm will not only have a portfolio of previous work – they’ll be happy to share it with you.
  • — Ask for locations of some of their projects so that you can drive by and see them in person.
  • — If they have current projects, ask if you can get a tour.

A good contractor will have a good relationship with their clients – this is a good way to get a feel for how they approach their jobs, and how you’ll be able to work with them.

They should be able to show you examples of work that is similar to what you’re proposing. If you’re considering a garage conversion, it’s great to see other ideas and see how they solved problems.

If you are carefully updating your Craftsman interior space, you’ll want to have the assurance that they respect your vision and don’t want to add in walls of windows and incongruous modern elements.

Ask for their license numbers, and don’t be shy about going online to make sure that they are in good standing, and seeing if there are complaints out there regarding their company.

You can verify California contractors through the Contractors State License Board.


Undertaking any sort of home remodeling is a real commitment.

Without some forethought, it’s easy to make mistakes that can make you miserable throughout the course of the project and long after.

Be sure to balance the fun of gathering new ideas and inspiration with the nuts and bolts of a realistic budget, firm goals, and a contractor that you feel good about working with.

They’ll be able to help you navigate the specifics of LA building codes, HOA requirements, and other regional remodeling mistakes and issues that commonly occur.