When planning a home remodel, the scariest thing to most people is the potential for busting the budget. This is a legitimate concern, as little things can add up quickly.
But, much as they can add up to increase the cost of a remodel, they can also add up to big savings!
And who doesn’t want to save money on their home remodel?
Planning a cushion:
Before we get into tips for saving money on your remodel, it’s important to discuss the likelihood that something additional may come up during your project. Home construction can be unpredictable, and things like wall cavities can hide various defects and code issues. In order to account for the unexpected, setting aside a cushion is important with any home remodel. 20% of the project cost is generally recommended, and hopefully you won’t need it.
Does the space need to be bigger or more efficient?
We’ve all been there. If only we had a bigger kitchen, a larger bathroom, more space… But is your current space maximized? Take into consideration that the home addition that is necessary to give you more space will generally be significantly more expensive than a remodel designed to maximize the space that you already have. Things like custom cabinetry designed to make better use of your existing space, or organization options intended to maximize function may provide you with what you want at a fraction of the cost!
Does the exterior need to be changed?
If you’re getting rid of an exterior door or window, you’ll likely need to replace siding, but do you have to replace all of it?
With wood siding, you often can locate a mill or supply company that is able to match the existing siding. Getting paint that matches then allows you to only replace the section of siding that was affected by the project.
In the case of vinyl siding, which will fade and discolor over time, you’re unlikely to ever match the color that it is now. While an option, replacing all of the siding is costly and depending on the condition of the rest of the siding, may be unnecessary. Other options that you may want to explore, where feasible, are façades such as stone. Even if you need to replace a somewhat larger section for uniformity or personal preference, it may still be cheaper than residing the entire home.
Minimize wasted time for your contractors:
We certainly understand that you would like the project to be completed as quickly as possible so that you can start using your new space, but hurrying things along can also result in additional unforeseen cost. While your electricians and framers may be finished in one area, scheduling your drywallers prematurely may create some complications if they catch up to the electricians or framers. It’s best to handle each project in stages, ensuring that you’re ready for the next step before scheduling this work. A properly scheduled project may even result in savings for the contractor, allowing you to negotiate a reduced project cost!
Similarly, if you’re responsible for purchasing materials, choose options that will reduce labor costs whenever possible. Things like moldings that have already been primed can significantly reduce labor costs as it will mean that your contractor will only need to paint these items, saving them a step. The additional cost for factory-primed molding is much less than the cost to have this primed by your contractor.
Leverage your contractor’s contacts
If you’re taking the responsibility of getting certain materials, ask your contractor who they use. These vendors may offer you a discount or give you the heads-up that a product is soon to be discontinued or discounted.
Check overstocks, clearance, and remnants
Shopping overstocks and clearance materials is a great way of saving some money on material costs, particularly with flooring. Floor tile is regularly replaced with newer styles and patterns, forcing the store to offer deep discounts on current stock to make room. If you’re shopping for carpet for a single room, you may want to look at remnants or the end pieces left over on a roll of carpeting. People are often surprised by how large some remnants are, and this is a great way to save some money on your carpet.
Is there anything that you can do?
Sweat equity is a great way of saving some money on a home remodel, but be sure to run this by your contractor before you get your hands dirty. While you certainly don’t want to do anything that will complicate, delay the project, or potentially increase costs, your contractor may have some recommendations of things that you can do. Perhaps tearing out cabinets or drywall before the remodel begins, or painting after the work is completed. Safety note: Always use proper safety equipment when performing any construction tasks, and leave things like plumbing and electrical to the experts.
Forget the deliveries
If you have a larger vehicle such as a pickup truck or a trailer, you may want to consider picking up materials rather than having them delivered. The delivery cost savings is sure to add up quickly, and you can still opt for large items like drywall to be delivered if needed.
Avoid “peak” construction season
If you’re hoping for a discounted interior remodel cost, try to schedule your project for when your contractor is less busy, for example during the winter months. Not only will you keep your contractor busy when they normally are not (which they will appreciate), but they are more likely to offer you a discount on their work!
Don’t move the toilet or sink
Moving plumbing such as toilets, sinks, and showers can significantly increase the cost of a remodel. If possible, keeping these items in the same location can save you additional expense that you may be able to avoid. Your contractor should be able to inspect your plumbing to determine its condition and age and make recommendations as to whether replacement will be necessary.
Plan with stock sizes in mind (custom doors/ windows vs. stock items)
Custom windows and doors are much more expensive than stock items, making this a great opportunity to reduce cost if possible. Often, custom items become necessary for no other reason than a final design that requires an unusual size. Keeping stock sizes in mind during the design stage will allow you to not only plan for the use of more readily available (and cheaper) materials, but will also avoid the delays that often occur when waiting for custom items to be manufactured and delivered.
Buy building supplies at auction
This is a great opportunity to save a significant amount of money on your materials, but it is not without risk. Will those cabinets fit in your new kitchen? Is that going to be enough floor tile? Whenever considering building materials at auction, always double and triple measure to be sure before placing your bid. If you’re still unsure, call your contractor to confirm before committing to the purchase.
Make decisions early and communicate
Communication is key during any home project. Selecting materials early and committing to design plans on time will allow your contractor to plan one step ahead. Waiting until the last minute, or worse, being late with selections can create delays in the project and could increase costs.
Some decisions, such as the location of recessed lighting, are very labor intensive and costly to change after drywall has been hung for instance. Making these design decisions early will allow your contractor to plan for this work and the entire project proceed.
While these are some of the most common ways of saving money on your remodel, there are many others. Don’t hesitate to ask your contractor what recommendations he may have for ways that you can save money on your project!
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