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How to Stretch your Renovation Dollar
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Home renovation is a multi-billion dollar industry. But just because everyone else is spending thousands of dollars on their renovations, it doesn’t mean that’s a must to achieve your home improvement goals. With the right planning, budgeting, and a little bit of sweat equity, you can stretch your renovation dollars and still enjoy maximum value and satisfaction. Here’s a few tips on how:

  • Begin with a plan. Too many people rush into projects with their eyes wide shut. Before you commit to any project, begin by writing down what your ideal goals with the renovation is. Then consult reference guides (such as this one) and work out how you can achieve those goals within your desired budget and time constraints.

  • Shop second-hand. Want to upgrade your kitchen, but can’t afford the exorbitant prices of new furnishings? Many savvy shoppers are sniffing out incredible second-hand kitchen deals. Now, this doesn’t mean trolling thrift stores. Instead, they’re contacting wealthy homeowners who’re tearing out their own upscale kitchens to replace with the latest fashions. Many thrifty buyers of these whole kitchen cast-offs are getting things like full granite countertops, stainless steel sinks, etc. all at a fraction of their new prices.

  • DIY demo. Doing your own demolition work can can save your contractor time and you money, but note that it isn’t for the faint of heart. You might find some downright gross areas and you will get dirty. But in the end the sweat made from self-demoing can mean money well saved. Just be careful to consult with a professional first as you don’t want to unwittingly compromise a load-bearing wall or cut live wiring.

  • Donate your trash. But before you throw everything you’ve just torn out away, contact your local Habitat for Humanity or similar charity to come and remove good materials and fixtures for their own later resale. This allows you to help a good cause, reduce good stuff from being thrown into the landfill, and collect a sizable tax deduction at the end of the year.

  • Source the materials. If you are working with a contractor, talk to them before the project starts about sourcing some or all of the materials yourself. Then, hit up recycling centers, salvage outlets, and antique malls for all those bits you need like door knobs, light fixtures, and full cabinets. Another great place to check for building supplies is at nearby auctions. Building supply auctions commonly occur every month with inventories featuring everything from wall cabinets to custom-made stained-glass windows.

  • Take care of the details. Insist on doing all the detailed work after professionals have gone in and done the heavy installation. Painting, installing light fixtures, and putting up trimming in your house can keep your pocketbook full while also giving you a nice sense of pride in taking part of the work done on your home.

  • Get multiple quotes. For big projects like having a new roof installed, it’s important to never go with the first estimate. While it might be tempting to just start with the project, you never know how much a job should cost until you’ve gotten real quotes on the specifics of your project. This’ll help keep you from overpaying and may get you a lower price as some contractors will offer to price match.

  • Go green. When you think of renovation budgets, it’s important to consider the full cost of what it’ll be to occupy your enhanced finished space, which includes taking efficiency into account. And with the current federal tax credits and rebates, there’s never been a better time to go green. You can save money both upfront and every month afterwards on your energy and water bills by making green improvements like installing a solar water heater, switching appliances out to EnergyStar and WaterSense models, and beefing up your insulation.

  • DIY drive. Whenever possible, avoid expensive delivery fees and opt to collect materials yourself. While this does mean you’ll spend a little more on gas, you can combine construction trips with things like grocery shopping for greater efficiency.

  • Opt for the engineered wood. Love the look of hardwood flooring but hate the price? If you can’t find cheap hardwoods at your local salvage warehouse, consider checking out an engineered wood counterpart. Current laminates and vinyl flooring are not the cheap renditions of yesteryear. Today, such flooring options come in a wide variety of looks and textures that are more attractive (both visually and financially) than ever. Picking a engineered look-alike allows you to obtain your home renovation goals on a tighter budget.

Fresh new looks don’t need to cost a fortune. Implementing just a few of the above money-saving tips and planning out your remodel can help you transform a lackluster space into high-end results that’ll enhance your lifestyle and boost your home’s overall value.



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