|| How to Save Money on Home Improvements
Home improvements cost a nice chunk of change. There is just no way
around it. If you play your cards right, however, you can save considerably
on the cost and get the most bang for your buck. Taking a thoughtful
approach when considering home improvements is key – and understanding
what each is worth is essential.
Wants vs. Needs
To save the most money on your home improvements, prioritize. You
probably have a long list of things you’ve always dreamed
of having done, but narrow it down to the “must haves”
for the current remodel, then add a few extra things you can honestly
afford. Play with a few give-and-take scenarios until you come up
with a realistic plan. If you long for granite floors and countertops,
perhaps you can forego the custom cabinets you’ve been eyeing
to splurge on the granite.
What about a spa-like bathroom retreat? Maybe you want to soundproof
your bathroom to block all sound and add a custom whirlpool tub
and steam shower, but can’t afford to do everything. If you
decide peace and quiet are the most important features, consider
a standard shower you can upgrade later.
Once you have an idea of what you really need, start looking for
bids early. Last minute bids will drive prices up and contractors
will charge a premium if they know you need your renovations done
in time for a big event. Don’t feel pressured to pay extra
or agree on a higher bid simply because a contractor can fit you
into their schedule – get quotes months in advance of when
you want the renovations completed. Give yourself time to get the
job done right.
Don’t Change Plans Mid-Renovation
Contractors love hearing phrases like, “Oh, wait! I forgot
to tell you I wanted soundproof drywall in all the bedrooms!”
once work is already underway. They can charge you extra labor,
lost time, and overhead on the wasted materials they ordered. Be
sure you know what you want beforehand and clarify everything before
actual construction begins, once during the bidding phase, and again
before the team starts work. Each time you add a new element to
the project after a contract is signed and work has commenced, you’re
paying a premium for the inconvenience. It’s just another
reason to prioritize before you hire.
Don’t Cut Corners on Foundation Work
Some people focus on the cosmetic details and try to save money
by skimping on structural elements. Not the best approach. It should
always be the other way around. The best place to spend your money
is on the foundations of your home - the framework, electrical,
plumbing, and structural details of the house. These elements will
last for years and increase the resale value of your property.
Moreover, cosmetic details like paint, fixtures, and doors can
be altered relatively inexpensively to upgrade the look of your
home. If you don’t like the alterations, you can alter them
again later on for minimal cost.
Put the bulk of your money into foundation work. In the end, you
will get the most out of it. No one will see soundproof drywall,
for example, but you will love the peace and quiet it allows. Moreover,
structural upgrades like soundproof rooms are a huge selling point
and will likely help your recoup your investment if you decide to
put your house up for sale later down the line.
Finally, and this may be understood, but here it is anyway: hire
professionals to do the foundation work on your house. Cutting corners
by handling plumbing, drywall, or electrical work yourself usually
ends up taking an inordinate amount of time and costing you large
amounts in repairs once you realize the job was done poorly or worse,
caused structural damage to your home. Unless they are extremely
talented, most people are unable to execute skilled-trade work like
a professional - and the consequences of a job poorly done will
be frustrating. Find a professional to do the job well and save
yourself a headache (and a lot of money).
Talk to friends and family for referrals – they can usually
steer you toward a qualified professional who can get the job done
right at a price you can afford.
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