How to Complete Home Renovations on a Budget

It is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about renovating your home. Not only that, it is easy to spend more money than necessary during the process.

The following tips from the April 2011 Issue of HOLMES: The Magazine To Make It Right provides useful information that will keep you from going over budget as they take on these projects:


1. Work in the off-season – Postpone certain jobs that need to be completed in good weather. Pouring concrete or applying stucco may be cheaper in the off season.
2. Avoid structural changes – Try moving walls or take out a closet for that extra space first before thinking of putting an addition on your home.

3. Work with what you’ve got – Try refinishing your kitchen cabinets and replacing hardward for a new look instead of replacing them.

4. Leave appliances, fixtures, and outlets in the same locations– Running new lines can be costly. Work with what you got unless you absolutely need to make a bigger change.

5. Value-engineer – Ask your contractor about thrifty alternatives that still do the trick.
      6. Buy all appliances or fixture at one time and on sale – purchasing in bulk can often give you a discount.
      7. Stick with normal colors – Normal colors are manufactured in bulk and can be cheaper

      8. Opt for factory finishing – Allow for faster installation.
      9Make decisions based on quality, no just price – It is cheaper to pay more for a better quality product than it is to replace it every few years plus the cost of labor.
      10. Plan for energy efficiency – Energy Star appliances, 90% efficiency furnace, and more. Investigate these options for a tax write off and to save you money.

      11. Prioritize and don’t budge – Prioritize for what you need or want. Ask yourself “Why am I doing this project?” Consult a REALTOR to learn what you need to do to increase the value and appeal of your home.

      12. Go with the standard model whenever possible – There are low cost alternatives that do not compromise quality.
     13.  Rule out thoughtless change orders – Changing a floor plan or materials after work has been started can bust your budget. Minimize these changes as much as possible.

      14. Use an architect, your paid advocate in directing the contractor and subs – The peace of mind is worth the money.
      15.  Have the architect itemize everything – This is the thouroughness you are paying for. These drawings become the basis of your contract and the construction document.

      16. Seek multiple bids – Doesn’t ever hurt!

      17. Itemize within the contract – Review your contract item by item to make sure all is in agreement.

      18. Memorize the change order policy – Then try your hardest to avoid the need for any.

      19. Ask for pricing – The more info the contractor gives you, item by item, the more likely you are to stay on budget.

      20. You can benefit by purchasing materials through a professional – Contractors have direct relationships with suppliers. Any upcharge in materials takes into account the contractor’s time, responsibility, and experience – it’s worth it.

      21. Have all materials on site before they’re required – Called the “preconstruction period”. This way no time is wasted.

      22. Hold pre-construction meetings – Review materials as they arrive which will help maintain productivity.

      23. Let the pros do their jobs to avoid confusion – Ask questions if something concerns you but don’t get involved in day-to-day management. The architect can also approve the completion of each stage.

      24. Prepare a punch list, or post-job list of to-do items you feel may need attention – It is customary to do a walk-through when the job appears to be done. Carry post-its and use them to write down things that concern you.
      25. Space out the payments – After making a series of payments along the way, it is now time for your final payment. Only when the work is completely finished will you hand over the check.
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