Unless you’re one of the few lucky people who has so much money you don’t know what to do with it, chances are you’re very mindful about your budget when planning a remodel. If you haven’t yet thought about a budget, that’s the first thing you’ll want to do before you even think about starting a remodeling project. With that done, you can start prioritizing the various projects you want done and estimating costs to see what you can fit in. For homeowners looking to get the most out of their remodeling budget, here are a few tips.
Work with what you have when possible
The most expensive home remodeling projects are ones that involve changing the structure of the house somehow. Not only does this require an architect and probably a general contractor, but it also involves weeks or even months of work. So if at all possible, the first and biggest way to stretch your budget is to find creative ways to work with what you already have. Need more square footage? Instead of knocking down walls or building onto your home, you might need to find ways to incorporate storage space into your existing floor plan. Tired of the look of your kitchen cabinets? You can repaint or re-stain them or even just replace the handles on them. Don’t like the look of your baseboard radiators, install snap-on baseboard heater covers instead of having them torn out. Remodeling a bathroom? Leave the main features like the sink, shower, and toilet where they are so a plumber doesn’t have to come in and redo all the plumbing.
Settle for mid-grade materials
Homeowners planning a remodel don’t like the word "settle," but keep in mind that mid-grade doesn’t mean poor quality. Mid-grade materials can be just as functional and attractive but much less expensive. Your contractor may even know how to get his/her hands on some leftover materials from completed projects at a fraction of the cost. Of course when selecting less expensive materials, it’s still important to make sure you’re getting good quality materials that will last.
DIY but know your limits
There are plenty of home improvement projects you can do yourself to save some money. Repainting the interior of your home is doable for the average homeowner. Though you’ll have to invest in brushes, rolling pans, clothes to protect your furniture and flooring, and of course paint, it’s still cheaper than paying someone else to do it. There are some projects you should definitely stay away from especially if it’s potentially dangerous, requires special equipment that’s too expensive to buy only to be used once, or requires lots of experience. Undertaking these kinds of projects will most likely cause you to lose more money than you save when it’s all said and done and in some cases, you may end up needing to call in the pros anyways. Even when there’s a project that will require professionals, such as re-carpeting, you can limit costs by doing some of the preparation work, like removing and discarding old carpeting, yourself.
Don’t be afraid to bargain
Be patient, wait for good sales, plan remodels for the off-season when contractors are hurting for work, and always try to negotiate on prices. Don’t worry about being that annoying person who is always trying to save a dollar. When remodeling, the more you can save the more you can accomplish with the budget you have.