Occasionally, our humble abodes require a makeover. Those outdated kitchen counters or ugly bathroom tiles have been at the back of your mind for some time now, and you have had enough. It is time for a change, but you are afraid of the complications and hidden costs, and you have no idea where to begin. Managing costs can be a nightmare, but we have come up with steps to prevent you from overspending on your next renovation project.
Set your priorities straight
A home renovation project can end up being a bit of a vicious cycle. You may start from simply wanting to change your kitchen cabinets, but then you realize that your floors do not match them, and in no time, you end up taking on an entire house project. It is always a clever idea to set down your goals in writing. What is the purpose of the renovation? Are you looking to increase your home’s value? Or are you looking to improve the overall aesthetic of your home? Having a clear agenda will help you prioritize what needs to be done, and what can be put on hold. Moreover, working on one room at a time will ensure that you can manage the budget more easily and build the cost around each individual project.
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Estimate the cost
Now that you have a clear goal, it is much easier to estimate how much you are prepared to spend on a single project. Even though it is still early on, you can browse the internet and come up with approximations. Research the cost of materials, furniture, labour, even go to chat rooms and ask around for opinions. You will not know the exact cost of the project until you have spoken to contractors, but this may help you set realistic goals for your budget. Most renovations may cost more than expected, so make sure you have a bit of leeway in case of emergencies. Ask your friends and family, or even your neighbours if they have done some renovating themselves. They may offer valuable advice, if not what you should do, then at least what you should not do. Additionally, doing some research cannot hurt – having information about different manufacturers and painting a picture of what you want your result to look like gives you an advantage when consulting your future general contractor.
How will you pay for it?
Before you finalize your budget with your general contractor, you must figure out how you are going to pay for the renovation. The best way is always to pay in cash, but this is often impossible and unrealistic, especially for larger projects. Most high budget homeowners opt for a loan to finance their project. Many individuals with good credit consider taking out low-rate personal loans from online finance companies, which is a quick and straightforward way to find the best loan rate for you. Some people think about paying with credit cards, but this requires a repayment plan. Now that you know how big of a loan you can get, you can start planning your renovation around you. Always remember to set aside 10 to 20 percent of your funds in case of unforeseen expenses. This way, you can rest assured that you will have enough money to finish your project.
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Since you have done some research and have a clear image of what you want, start looking for contractors. The best thing to do is to have offers from at least three general contractors before you seal the deal. Do not be tempted by lower offers, if two contracting companies bid you between $20,000 and $30,000 and another is offering to do it for $10,000, it is likely that they are being unrealistic. Choose the middle ground since it is probably the most realistic price. In the meantime, make sure that you are clear on your budget and vision when interviewing contractors. If they see that you have seriously thought everything through, they are more likely to talk about details of added expenses. Always check their references and earlier projects and talk about priorities.
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Save where you can
Whether you are renovating your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or garden, it is always a better idea to shop for materials on your own. This will save you labour costs since many contractors will charge for the time needed to go to the store. But consult your contractor beforehand. Other ways to save money include buying things on sale or second-hand or even refurbishing your old furniture. Also, consider painting the walls yourself, doing your own demolition work or any work that does not require expertise, like pulling out tiles or kitchen cabinets. You can sell your old cabinets online, as well. Ask your contractor if they have any materials left from other projects, and use that.
Before you begin to panic about your upcoming project, take a deep breath, read, plan and research. This is no easy task, but by laying out an agenda, planning your finances and taking things one step at a time, renovating your home may come as a blessing rather than a curse.