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Ultimate Guide to Saving on a Home Remodel

You may be ready to embark on a home remodel, but are unsure if your cash flow will enable you to complete everything you’d like. Our cost-saving tips may help you accomplish your goals.

Here’s our handy guide to saving on your remodel projects

  1. Identify remodel projects and create a budget. It all starts with a budget determined by the scope of your planned remodel. Depending on your finances, you may want to consider starting small and completing one project at a time, rather than embarking on an extensive renovation. Compile a complete list of your remodel wishes and the specific costs involved. Be sure to budget some extra for unexpected expenses. You can begin with some extensive online and in-store research into the cost of various items. Home improvement stores, including Home Depot and Lowes, are a great place to start. Check out appliance, furniture, décor, and home goods sites as well. Think strategically with the help of our tips below to help you save along the way.
  2. Prioritize those projects that will give you the biggest ROI. Your home remodel projects should always increase the value of your home. Remodels that add to the physical space or square footage are always smart. Finished basements, an open floor plan, or renovating a home’s exterior are smart investments. Home improvements that enhance energy efficiency can also provide a good ROI.
  3. Identify funding streams for your project. Your budget can include funds you have saved, as well as those accessed through any Home Equity loans or HELOCs you plan on borrowing from to help with your remodeling needs. Keep in mind that the amount eligible to borrow in the form of a home equity loan is dependent on the equity built in your home. Click to learn more about home equity loans.  and HELOCs. You can also sell some of the items you are replacing, or other unused items, such as appliances that are in good working order, or old cabinets or furnishings. This will give you an idea of the cash you have to work with when it comes to your planned remodeling project.
  4. Be sure to obtain any necessary building permits. Skipping this step only slows down the renovation process, and might end up costing you more.
  5. Do it yourself whenever you can. DIY home improvements can be a very effective way to save money. While you might not be able to handle a plumbing or electric job, you may be able to paint walls, add a kitchen backsplash, or lay tile. Any portion of your project you can complete yourself will provide you with cost savings. Consider enlisting the help of friends who are handy as well. Think about this before you contact a contractor. Perhaps the project begins with a contractor, but you do some of the back end or finish work.
  6. Watch for sales on the materials you need. Whether you need new kitchen appliances, carpeting, or siding for your home, everything is on sale at one time or another. When embarking on a DIY project, take your time and watch for sales and compare prices to be sure you are getting the best prices. Keep in mind that you don’t always need the most expensive materials to complete your project. If you’re replacing the flooring in a small corner bathroom, do you really need that extravagant tile? Probably not. Think about it before you spend. Ask about discounts for floor models and discontinued items when shopping home improvement and home goods stores as well. When dealing with a contractor, he or she may be able to get better pricing, but you should always shop around and compare. If your contractor seems to have the best pricing for materials, then by all means tap into that source.
  7. Salvage and re-use whatever you can. Perhaps those kitchen cabinets are in great shape and only need a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware. That’s much more cost-effective than replacing them.
  8. Stick with standard sizes when shopping for materials. Special, out of the norm sizes, mean higher prices.
  9. Consider the cost savings of energy-efficient appliances. While purchasing new energy-saving appliances might be more of an upfront cost, they will save you in the long term in the form of lower utility payments. It’s an investment worth making. The same goes when replacing windows and doors. You’ll want them to be well-insulated against extreme temperatures for better energy efficiency.
  10. Shop around when hiring a contractor or other laborers. When you know you can’t do it all yourself, it’s time to hire a contractor. Unless you’re familiar with a contractor and their work or have references from friends you trust, be sure to shop around, comparing prices and checking references. Be sure to get bids from multiple contractors to see how their cost aligns with your estimated costs. You’ll want a contractor who is licensed and has all of the proper insurance. Hiring the right contractor when one is needed is an important step in the remodeling process and one that’s beneficial to your budget. Many of us make mistakes when hiring the wrong person for the job. It can sometimes be an expensive mistake in the long run. Depending on the scale of the project, you may even want to consult with an architect.
  11. Timing can mean savings when hiring a contractor. Try to avoid peak remodeling months. Most contractors are at their busiest during the spring, summer, and early fall months. If you have an indoor remodel and plan it for the dark days of winter, you may find yourself getting a significant discount. Always ask the contractor what time period will provide you with an off-season discount. The low season seems to be during the harshest winter months.
  12. Leave your home’s layout as is whenever possible. Always consider the cost of relocating water pipes and gas lines when remodeling. You can save a significant sum on a kitchen or bath remodel simply by keeping things like sinks, toilets, showers, and stoves where they are. It doesn’t mean you can’t replace them with shiny new ones, just that you’re saving on the time and expense of moving plumbing and wiring to relocate them. If you’re planning on upgrading to new pipes anyway, then consult your contractor as to the best layout changes for cost savings. The same goes for opening up space by removing a weight-bearing wall, ask before you remove something that will cause the need for expensive reinforcement elsewhere.
  13. Be thrifty when adding new home décor. Second-hand sales and online marketplace forums can be a treasure of furniture and décor.
  14. Does the cost of your remodel outweigh the cost of a new home? Believe it or not, sometimes it does. For you to completely gut and update an older home, you may just be able to buy or build a new one. If the cost of your planned remodel is staggering, it may be something to think about.
  15. Our most important advice: know your budget and stick to it. 

In the market for a home equity loan or HELOC? 

When shopping for a home equity loan or HELOC, Benchmark Federal Credit Union offers low interest rates and other benefits to members of the Chester County community looking to tap into the equity of their homes. Learn more about our Ultimate HELOC promotion.




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