10 Ways to Stretch Your Remodeling Budget
Follow these guidelines to minimize stress, keep your spending under control, and reap the rewards of a well-executed project.
Create a Plan
It might sound obvious, but take some time to really think. Consult a reference guide; write down your present and future needs. Analyze. Are the spaces you’re envisioning economical? Could you possibly combine spaces or work something out instead of adding another room? Avoid rushing into projects spellbound by the finished product and ignoring the incidental considerations.
Have a Financial Blueprint
In other words, know your budget. Have your financial plan in place before the work begins. Thoroughly research your financing options and budget your project firmly within your means.
Expect the Unexpected
Unforeseen costs are inevitable. Be sure to build 10 to 20 percent into your budget specifically for these unexpected setbacks. With a financial buffer already set, these hitches will be more of a speedbump than a roadblock.
Communicate With Your Contractor
Saving money often hinges on good communication between the client and the contractor. Build an open working relationship with your contractor and make sure you have a clear understanding of the remodeling process. Communication can help keep extra dollars from being spent needlessly.
Be Open to Compromise
What you want and what you can afford are often two very different things. So if your budget doesn’t allow for granite surfaces everywhere, like you really want, try to achieve a similar look for less, such as a slate backsplash and composite countertops. Mixing materials is a good way to save money.
Look Into Stock Remodeling Plans
Rather than investing in a custom drawing, you might be able to use an existing plan for a standard-style home with a structural project that is relatively common. Start with a simple Internet search for “stock remodeling plans” and you should find plenty of leads to follow. If your home is unique or has more complex problems, consult a contractor.
Lend a Helping Hand
If you can roll up your sleeves and pitch in without getting in your remodeler’s way, go for it! From painting, pulling up old tile or carpet, or cleaning up the job site at the end of the day, every little bit helps. In fact, cleaning up is one of the biggest ways you can save money, especially during the construction phase. Why pay to have someone stay longer to clean up if you’re handy with a wet/dry vac and a broom?
Depending on the projects and your budget, it’s worth looking into having similar projects done all at once instead of one at a time. For instance, if you are definitely replacing the flooring in one room but are planning on having several other rooms done eventually, see if it’s possible to have them all done at once. Oftentimes it’s easier and less expensive in the long run to do everything at once rather than treating each room as an individual project.
Don’t Replace, Reface
Minimize costs by refacing cabinets or relining a bathtub rather than replacing them. Not only is it much easier and time efficient, it costs about half as much as replacement.
Account for Permits
Do not assume your contractor has secured the appropriate permits and that the permit fees are included in his fee. It is squarely on you if the project ultimately does not adhere to local codes, so read your contracts and specification documents, and openly discuss what is included and what is not. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of how different situations will be handled if they do in fact come up.