Home improvements can be costly, but with good planning – and a consideration of your skills and free time – you can most likely save a good chunk of cash on your next project!
Here are some tips:
- Evaluate how much of the work you can realistically do yourself. For instance, if you’re looking to add a room onto your house, perhaps you can paint the walls and stain and varnish the trim when it’s complete.
- Set priorities. Decide what is critical and what isn’t. You may need to rethink the scale of your project to fit your budget, and you may find that simple changes – such as new fixtures, a different paint color or improved lighting – can alter the feel of a room without gutting out and overhauling the entire space.
- Consider less costly alternatives to project details – such as a prefabricated fireplace unit vs. traditional masonry. Or laminate or linoleum countertops instead of granite. Or stock cabinets instead of custom ones.
- Plan everything ahead of time to avoid making changes once the contractor has started working. Changes usually involve additional costs.
- Get a handful of quotes from different contractors. Rates vary widely due to factors like contractors’ schedules, their distance from the job and the time of year.
- Try to schedule your project for an “off” time of year. For instance, schedule your central air installation in winter, not summer.
- Shop for materials that are on sale. Building supply stores often mark down items due to overstocks or other factors.
- Stretch the value of your future dollars by doing improvements that offer a strong return on your investment, especially if you plan to sell your home in a few years.