5 Useful Tips for Home Improvement on a Budget
You have a long list of improvements you want to make to your home, but the thought of the expense is just too much to bear. This is a common occurrence for many, but you don’t need to fret. There are plenty of ways to tackle the home improvement on a budget. Just follow our simple tips.
Visit the Local Recycling Center:
Many do-it-yourselfers have found large savings by purchasing lightly used household products as well as building supplies. Throughout the country, Habitat for Humanity has around 400 ReStores. They are filled with salvaged goods with prices at 50-percent off or more what you would pay at the local home improvement store.
Normally you won’t find a contractor or builder purchasing items from here because they don’t want the liability. This just leaves more for you to choose from since you are doing your own work. Consider shopping for furniture, paint and building supplies while at the store. In fact, they even have the smallest items you are looking for such as doorknobs.
Perform Your Own Demo Work:
This isn’t always a good option if you’ve never done demo work before. If, however, you are looking to demo something outside the home such as a deck, there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself. If you have access to some common woodworking tools such as table saws, tile saws, or any type of electric saw, it could save you fifty percent over hiring a contractor to do the job.
If you need interior spaces knocked down, you might want to consider a professional instead. Making a mistake could cost you more than having it done right. Someone who doesn’t know what they are doing could easily take down a load-bearing wall or cut into the plumbing and electrical wires.If you want to see someone else’s deck demo – check out this video.
Determine What Your Budget Is:
This is an important step to any home improvement project and it could save you a lot of money. Before you complete a job, you need to determine if you have the money to do it.
This is an easy answer if you are going to pay with cash. If you have to borrow to complete a project, that is going to add to your monthly expenses.
Many people choose one of three types of loans: a cash-out refinance, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a home equity loan. Of these three, the best way to borrow towards a home improvement is with a home equity line of credit. It comes at a lower rate than other loans because it is based on your home’s equity. In addition, you can deduct the interest on your yearly taxes.
If you opt for a HELOC, you are going to receive a checkbook connected to an account. Instead of being a lump-sum amount, you withdraw just the amount you need up until you hit the maximum allowed.
If you want to stay out of debt, it is important to note that a HELOC only requires you to pay the interest each month as your minimum payment. You won’t be asked for any of the principal back. Just like if you were only paying the minimum required on your credit cards each month, you would quickly find yourself stuck in a heap of debt.
Budget out your payments properly and stick to the schedule. If you aren’t sure that you’ll be able to stick to a plan that pays off the HELOC in a reasonable amount of time, you should reconsider having the project done. No home improvement task is worth ruining your credit over.
Have Contractors Give You Quotes:
Before calling contractors, know what you want to have done down to every little detail. This should include the hardware, tools and supplies that will be needed. Price these items and make a list that you can reference. By knowing this for yourself, you’ll be able to ensure that the pricing offered to you isn’t unreasonable.
Receive bids from at least three different contractors. It is wise to ask your friends and neighbors for their recommendations of people they’ve used. Give each of the contractors your job description as well as your product list. Request each of them return an itemized bid to you in a reasonable time frame.
Then, follow these steps to help you choose the right contractor for your needs:
- Ask for examples of work that has been completed recently.
- Review online sites to see if there are any reviews for the contractor.
- Ask them for references and then follow up by calling them.
Set Your Priorities and Adjust Your Desires to Fit the Budget
If you find that your dream plans and present budget are not adding up, you only have the option to adjust your plan. If you take the time and slowly adjust the plans, you should be able to come into budget while still achieving most of what you want.
Speak to a professional if you need ideas on where you can cut back. They often have great tips on how to complete a project for less money. Some ideas might include:
- Looking for lower cost alternative products – Instead of doing the countertops in granite, why not select laminate instead?
- Repair older appliances instead of purchasing new – You don’t always need a new furnace or refrigerator. Sometimes it will be more budget friendly to fix the old model for now and upgrade later.
- Minimize the project – Instead of adding on a 300-square foot enclosed porch, why not take it down to 225-square feet. The cost will drop dramatically and you’ll still be left with plenty of space to enjoy.
- Buy products yourself – The contractor marks up the products he is using to do the work. If he is willing to let you purchase your own materials or appliances, you could save money. Not all of them will be eager to allow this and you need to keep in mind that he probably won’t cover anything that should go wrong with those products.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to upgrade your home without breaking the bank. It might take some creativity and additional work, but you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment when you see how much you’ve saved.