Whether you are renovating to make your space more comfortable, to increase your home's value, or just trying the style you always wanted from Pinterest, one of the biggest obstacles you can face when updating your home is staying within your budget.
Budgeting for any remodeling project can be challenging. In fact, in the 2021-2022 study by Houzz, 34 percent of homeowners exceeded their budget, and they did so for a variety of reasons. The top two reasons they cited include finding that the products or services were more costly than expected and that the project was more complex.
Want to avoid these mistakes made by homeowners? We have listed these four expert tips to help keep your project as close to budget as possible.
It can be tempting to do the legwork yourself, so you can save money, especially if you know you have got enough time on your hands. However, the DIY route may not be cheaper than you thought it would be. Your lack of know-how can be costly, and you could spend more on a botched job.
Especially for plumbing, electrical, or structural work, it will be safer and cheaper to pay a licensed and experienced professional to do the job right. Also, trust that professionals know the best brands to work with and can achieve the look you are aiming for while still getting the most bang for your buck.
But while it is better to leave the job to the pros, there are some things you can do to prepare your space before a crew comes, especially if you are paying them per hour. Depending on the remodel, you can tidy up the area and clean surfaces, pack up and move furniture and other decors out of the construction zone to make their job go more smoothly.
Experts recommend hiring a general contractor for medium- to large-scale remodeling projects. A general contractor knows who will do the best work for the best price, and they will know when to schedule them to avoid wasting dollars on inefficient use of time. Plus, sticking to a single contractor ensures the quality of work and materials will be consistent.
To get the best deal, obtain bids from at least three different traders. While it is not unusual for their quotes to differ in certain areas, this is an excellent opportunity to learn about their good and bad points and different approaches to the same work. Moreso, you can be wary if a bid is too good to be true, which could be a red flag that the contractor is either lying to you or is inexperienced.
If you decide not to choose a general contractor and hire individual workers yourself, get at least three quotes for each service performed so you can better compare their prices and scope of work.
No matter how big or small the remodeling project is, careful and detailed planning is the best way to avoid expensive problems down the road. Remember that the cost of renovations does not only include the materials and contractor/labor fees. Further, consider the little things, such as the costs for any necessary permits, sales tax, delivery charges, shipping charges, and even cleaning materials. Getting a detailed breakdown of the costs upfront means you can see how the different elements of your project add up to the total price.
If you are working with a good contractor, expect that you will get a detailed quote. They will also take the time to sit down with you and discuss the entire project, creating a step-by-step plan. This is also the best time to make all the decisions, especially regarding the materials and finishes you want.
And once the plan is complete, stick to it so you will not make last-minute changes when you are stressed, which is a surefire way to get your budget out of control.
Even if you are an optimistic homeowner, part of the planning stage is to have a plan for the unexpected. According to the Houzz study, one of the biggest reasons homeowners went over budget was because the project turned out to be more complex than expected. When your contractor opens a wall, they could find some necessary electrical work. If you have an older home, there is a critical risk of getting things that need updating, including plumbing, electrical, and wall material issues, or even discovering mold and asbestos, that could jeopardize your family's health and safety.
Hence, regardless of the budget you arrive at, it is safer to have an additional 10-25 percent buffer to cover any surprise expenses and delays. You will get peace of mind knowing that you have the funds just in case you need money to fix whatever is discovered wrong at short notice. Besides, experts say this cash cushion, more often than not, comes in handy.