Professional home improvements and DIY home remodels, big or small, take a lot of work and, usually, a lot of money. If you’re planning a bigger remodel, such as redoing the whole kitchen or adding an extension, consider the pros and cons of undertaking such a big project.
The benefits of a remodel are many; you’d have more space, it would add more function and style to a room, and you could truly make your own mark on your home with your creativity.
However, it could disrupt your life for a long period of time, your home would be a mess, and it could eat into the majority of your savings. This is not something you should do on whim. Having decided that you’re committed to professional home improvements or a DIY home remodel, paying for the renovations is a major consideration.
To keep the costs as low as possible, regardless of where the money is coming from, here are a few suggestions to help you save money wherever you can, and keep your frustrations down for as long as possible.
Consult An Architect or Building Designer
Depending on the scale of your project, you may not need an architect’s opinion. However, it doesn’t hurt to consult with a professional before you get started. Don’t under estimate the value in seeking advice for professional home improvements even if you plan to undertake much of the grunt work yourself. Consider giving a sketch to a reputable builder, or take it to a building drafting service.
For a relatively small fee to get a professional construction drawing finished, you may save heartache and expense down the track. A professional eye will help you to avoid costly mistakes, maximise space, and include better performing building and insulation products in the build.
Stick To Your Budget
It’s usually preferable to pay for most of the remodelling yourself, instead of getting into more debt. However, if you can’t afford it with savings then ask your mortgage broker for advice. It won’t do much for reducing how much you owe, but increasing your mortgage for professional home improvements will add value to your property, which will increase your equity in the property.
Once you’ve established a budget for professional home improvements you MUST stick to it. Consult two or three reputable contractors to work out an average cost from the estimates you’re given. Ensure you are comparing ‘apples with apples’ and that each contractor is providing the same services and quality of product. DON’T simply accept the lowest estimate or quote.
Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that estimates may run over. Overruns are usually due to unexpected added expenses – such as having to re-wire or re-plumb part of the existing home. However, overruns can also occur due to weather holding up construction or homeowners changing their minds halfway through a build.
Having a budget makes it easier to identify DIY projects or professional home improvements you should contract out.
To DIY Or Not
The best way to save yourself a big expense is to do the bulk of the work yourself. As an added bonus, you know exactly what you’d like done so you don’t have to waste time explaining it to anyone else.
In order to do a job that looks professional, and stand the test of time, you need to have the right tools for the job. For example, if you’re hanging shelves you’ll need a spirit level to ensure absolute flat and straight lines.
It’s much the same with cutting things. Measure twice and cut once. Invest in a high-quality measuring tape and ensure your cutting edges are sharp.
When painting, use Painter’s Tape NOT masking tape to create lines and protect windows from paint overspill. Purchase specialty floor protection for painting which can be rolled out and fixed firmly to the floor with it’s sticky backing. This covering is very easy to then roll up again painting is completed.
DIY won’t be completely free if you have to buy the tools and the paint, but you can also lessen the cost by buying reclaimed fittings and raiding the recycling centre for building materials. Many contractors won’t work with salvaged items, or homeowner–supplied materials in general, because they don’t want to assume the liability if something goes wrong. That said, if you’re doing your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors to acrylic skylights to partial bundles of insulation. Check out ReStores near you for hidden treasures that will supplement you remodel.
Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
Even though the goal is to save money, there is a time to save and a time to spend. For example, buying cheap paint, either matt emulsion or gloss, will only create more work for you. You’ll end up having to repaint due to poor final coverage or gloss that turns yellow within a matter of months. So, too, when buying fittings such as screws, nails and wall plugs — all the cheapest versions are likely to bend, snap or round off. The same rules apply for adhesives and grout, plus tools such as drills and saws.
Know What To Leave To The Professionals
Though you may be tempted to save a lot of money by doing everything yourself, there are some jobs that are too dangerous, or illegal, to be left to DIY. If you’re doing a kitchen remodel, for example, leave the plumbing and gas to a professional, unless you are licensed to do it yourself. Knowing the DIY dos and don’ts will save you from costly mistakes down the road.
Don’t worry, you can still save some money by hiring the right people. Of course, you want to find the right contractors who have a high-quality reputation. Do they have references? Are there testimonials from satisfied customers? Do they have experience with the required task? If you’re happy with the answers you receive, and with the fee they will charge, sort out a work schedule and let them know what you’d like done.
A little hospitality can go a long way with your construction crew. Offer refreshments and give praise when warranted, but make sure you’re not in their way. They work best when they’re not distracted.
Need More Inspiration?
For some great design ideas check out how to steal renovation ideas from the French, expert tips for using tiles to add colour to your home, a beginners guide to styling your home, and remembering those forgotten areas to create a comfortable home.
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