Personal Finance

How to Stay on Budget With a Home Renovation

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Giving your home a makeover is one of the most satisfying things you can do. There’s nothing like starting with a vision of what your house could become, working hard to make it happen, and then seeing the results right in front of your eyes. And not only is it satisfying, it can be potentially very financially rewarding, too! If you do it right, a home renovation or remodel could add a lot to the value of your home.

Of course, the financial benefit depends entirely on how much you spend during the renovation. You need to start with a budget and be sure you stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending way more than expected, which will wipe away any extra value you’re adding to your house. How do you make it work? The tips below will help you stay on budget with any future home renovations you undertake.

1. Respect the Current Blueprint of Your House

If you know from the very beginning of the process that you’ll be utilizing the current layout of your house (for the most part), you can minimize your costs. Why? Because often the most expensive aspect of a remodel is taking out existing walls, doors or ceilings and replacing them with new ones — in new areas of the house.

It’s not uncommon to have some complaints with how your house is laid out, but if you want to stay on budget, it’s best to keep yourself grounded and not get carried away with expensive and complex layout changes that may not pay off in the long run. This is doubly true for moving bathroom and kitchen hookups — keep them in the same place to save yourself a lot of headaches and cash.

2. Re-Imagine Your Furniture Before You Replace It

You might be tempted to replace your furniture with a home renovation, but this can cost upwards of several thousand dollars. And the truth is you might not need a new couch (for example) — maybe you just need a new cover for it. So before you sell that old furniture and get wrapped up in new-furniture-shopping fever, ask yourself if reupholstering would have an equally pleasing result.

This way, you get the best of both worlds. Your furniture will look and feel new and you’ll save a good chunk of change that will help you stay on budget. If you’re up for experimenting, you can even try using a slipcover for that trusty couch or recliner. If you find the right size, a nice pullover cover can look fantastic on your old furniture. And at a fraction of the cost of replacing it.

3. Do It Yourself (but Not the Whole Project)

All of us who watch HGTV dream of doing an entire glorious home renovation on our own. While taking on certain parts of the job yourself can save you money, it’s important to understand that you have limits and some aspects of the renovation need to be left to the professionals. If you’re overly optimistic about your abilities, you will likely end up making mistakes that have to be fixed later. That’s a great way to spend more than necessary — and you can’t afford that if you’re aiming to meet your budget. A few things that you can usually do on your own are: interior painting and minor demolition. Just be sure to talk to an expert before getting started.

4. Look for Discounts on New Items

There will be some things you may have to buy brand new — such as granite countertops and appliances. That’s fine, but before paying full price, see if you can find a discounted item. For example, if you’re committed to doing granite countertops but wary of the cost, you can ask the manufacturer for the least expensive pattern (which will likely still look quite classy), and for even more savings inquire about any stone pieces that may have small imperfections. You can get these at a steep discount, and if you install them thoughtfully the imperfections may not even be visible. Along the same lines, when shopping for appliances, you can ask if there are any “scratched” or “dinged” models available for a discount.

Whether you own your home outright or still have a mortgage, being cost-conscious is imperative for any “reno.” No matter what tactics you end up using to save money on your home renovation, just remember that the process is supposed to be fun and that staying within your budget is more important than striving for perfection. If you can complete your remodel for the original cost you laid out at the beginning, you’ll no doubt be more than satisfied with the result. And most likely, any prospective home buyer will be too!

Image: Gary Houlder

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