Every homeowner has a defined budget he or she can allocate toward a remodeling project. Even if funds were unlimited, it’s still in a homeowner’s best interest to secure the best value for each dollar invested in a remodeling project, ultimately increasing the value of the home.
Consider these tips from the experts at the National Association for the Remodeling Industry to help save money on your next project.
1. Determine how far your budget will go.
Create a wish list of everything you want to accomplish. Disregard cost and simply write down everything you can dream of. Prioritize items from “must haves” to “nice but not necessary.” Find a contractor who will work with you to determine whether your wish list is attainable for the funds you are willing to invest in your home.
2. Decide how to handle budget overages.
If you can’t get far enough down the list with the available money, you could choose to stop the process and continue saving, investigate financing options, re-evaluate your wish list or consider material substitutions.
3. Make material selections you can afford.
Every project will have a set of required materials, but there are options when it comes to variety, style and quality.
• Cabinets: Subtle changes like forgoing custom rustic cherry cabinets with plywood cabinet sides for regular cherry cabinets with furniture board sides can achieve the same look at a lower cost.
• Countertops: Natural stone and quartz countertops are popular, but advances in the design options for lower-cost countertop materials have rejuvenated their popularity, too. With the proper usage and protection, nearly all countertop materials can support your everyday needs.
• Millwork: Painted millwork has dominated the market for many years and solid maple is the preferred choice because the tight grain allows for a beautiful, smooth surface. However, the cost is multiple times that of vinyl and equally appealing when finished properly.
• Flooring: Advances in synthetic materials make them difficult to distinguish from natural products. Synthetics generally come with lower cost and more durability, making them a simple substitute for natural products like stone, wood, brick and marble.
4. Pay attention to project details.
It’s critical to ensure every detail of labor and material is specified in the agreement with the remodeler. If it’s not included in the written agreement, it’s likely not included in the work scope. Ask your remodeler what labor and materials are not included and determine what additional expenses you’ll likely incur to complete the project.
5. Ask how you can help reduce costs.
Talk to your contractor about tasks or materials you can provide that would reduce the project cost without affecting its schedule. This might include jobsite clean-up or obtaining certain materials the contractor would otherwise spend considerable time securing.
6. Plan ahead for project timing.
Ask for a potential timeframe for completing the project, as well as any factors that could affect the schedule so you can anticipate costs such as eating out more often while the kitchen is being renovated or renting living or storage space.
7. Know how you’ll resolve disputes.
Because of the unique stresses induced by remodeling projects, it’s a good idea to determine before you begin how disputes will be resolved, such as adding an arbitration clause to the agreement that eliminates expensive legal representation. A few deep breaths and a solution-minded approach can also save more than money if conflict arises.