If you’ve ever lived through a remodel in your home chances are you would agree with the above NOT!!! But whether or not you have remodeled before when you hear your contractor, friend or significant other use the following phrases while discussing your project please realize they are speaking Utopian and the translation in English is basically the opposite as shown below:
Utopian versus English
“Piece of cake” means “pain-in-the-butt”
“No problem” means “no problems except the ten we didn’t mention”
“Done in no time” means it will take twice as long (or more) than expected
“Will easily cost less than $_____” means “double the estimate”
“We’ve anticipated all contingencies” means all contingencies except for the contingencies we forgot
“No sweat” means no sweat but lots of blood and tears
Now it might seem like I’m saying that all of these people are liars but the truth is that people who use these terms tend to be very optimistic and people-pleasers (those people who tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear). Somehow or other it seems that most contractors and tradesmen always sincerely anticipate that the next job will run almost perfectly. I have been guilty of this myself.
When you hear these optimistic phrases I recommend politely saying to them something like, “Would you like to think about what you just said and possibly amend or modify it? I’d rather have realistic expectations rather than expect you to live up to unrealistic promises.” Generally when you do this you’ll see their face relax a bit, a smile start to form and they will take you up on your offer and hedge their bet.
I have collaborated with a contractor for many years and often we meet with the client together and when the question of time comes up he always underestimates it. I then lean over and with a smile say to the client, “When he said four weeks he meant six.” Both the client and he always thank me.
The easiest way to get through a remodel is to lower your expectations (not your standards though) and have some reserve funds (15%) and it will be much easier. I apply this when I fly on airplanes. I expect that the plane will run late, be uncomfortable, I will have an unanticipated expense and that my luggage will be lost. Most of the time I am pleasantly surprised that everything goes fairly well. If I expect perfection I am guaranteed to be disappointed.
Keep your expectations realistic and you’ll make your remodel much easier to get through. Hopefully when asked how the remodel went you'll reply, "No sweat!"