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Budget-Friendly Renovating Tips
03/04/2015

Budget-Friendly Renovating Tips

Consider these tips for renovating — without depleting your nest egg

Your bathroom tile is cracking, your kitchen cabinets are outdated and how great would it be to finally add a fireplace to your living room? So, what’s stopping you? More times than not, it’s the high costs associated with renovations that leaves homeowners at a standstill. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to save on these extra expenses. If you’re on a budget, consider these cost-cutting home renovating tips:

Do it yourself. "Instead of paying someone to pick up sawdust off the floor, put your money into the time it takes to trim the window properly," suggests Tom Silva, This Old House's general contractor. Whether or not you consider yourself a handyman (or woman), there are tons of projects that are DIY-capable — even for the admitted non-handy! Something as simple as painting a wall can liven up a room, or installing new tile will modernize the bathroom. With some online research for tutorials and the purchase of just a few simple tools, you’ll be able to reap big savings if you take on the renovations yourself.

Enlist friends and family. If your projects are too big to do it entirely yourself, recruit your loved ones to help you. Plus, keep in mind that paying your friends and family with a home cooked meal or a trip to the movies is much less expensive than hiring a worker to work on your home for you.

Compare costs. Everything comes at a different cost. But just because it’s more expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better quality. Therefore, whether you’re installing wood flooring, adding carpets to the bedrooms or simply buying a new couch, be sure to look at many different options before deciding. For example, you may absolutely love hardwood or oak flooring, but laminate will give you a similar look for half the cost. Additionally, if you do your homework, many stores will price match the price of your purchase if you show them where you can get it cheaper. It doesn’t hurt to hang onto the receipt, too, as some stores may adjust the price even after you purchase the item (just be aware of the store’s policy). 

Sell what you’re getting rid of. Have you ever heard the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” If you’re replacing, say, your cabinets or tub, you may consider donating the old materials to others. For example, Habitat for Humanity is an organization that can come and remove your items to later resell them.  
 
“About 85 percent of a house is reusable,” says B.J. Perkins, Habitat's ReUse program manager, in Austin, Texas. "We can do a total takedown, or do a cherry-pick job and take the cabinets, the tub, the sink, and so on." It costs you nothing, and you even get a tax deduction. 

Ask for a discount. Sometimes it may be beneficial to come out and simply ask for some money off.
 
"If you are friendly and considerate, oftentimes you can get a small discount of up to 10 percent," says Dan Fritschen, author of Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision. Need help on what to say? Leah Ingram, founder of SuddenlyFrugal.com suggests being upfront and clear about your budget. Say to the contractor, "This is what I want to get done, and this is my budget. How can you work with me?" Ingram suggests.

Ditch tax. If you live in close vicinity to a county or state that has no or a lower sales tax rate, take advantage of that, especially if you’re buying items in bulk; you could save hundreds in tax alone. Many states offer annual sales tax holidays, and some stores even offer random weekend promotions where no tax is included, so be sure to keep on the lookout.

Plan ahead. Before diving into a renovation, scour hardware and department store aisles and websites for what you’re really looking for. That will give you the best estimate for how much everything is going to cost and in the end, help pinch your pennies. Otherwise, your contractor may give you an estimate, or allowance, that may be different than yours.
 
Take out a loan. A home equity loan or a renovation loan, either way, "It's extremely important to work with a lender who understands the different renovation loan programs and has experience," says Sue Pullen, a senior mortgage advisor in Tucson, Arizona.
 
From small jobs to major renovations, be sure to contact us today to see what products we can offer, and find out how we might be able to help you today.

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