In an ideal world, home renovations would be a breeze. You would simply have a discussion with a decorator and a contractor while they congratulate you on your impeccable taste and amazingly creative ideas; and they would then get to work while you went on vacation, returning home to find your vision has been brought to life and is ready for you to move in. The reality is vastly different, as anyone who has gone through the renovation process can tell you.
The contractors and designers can often dismiss your ideas as highly impractical, or will tell you that you can certainly have it how you want it, but it will cost you twice as much as their original estimate. You try to save money by doing it yourself, all the time worrying that you’re going to screw it up and that a wall will collapse on you while you’re sleeping, and then there are always the constant worries about how much the darn thing is going to cost. Not to worry- there are many tips and ticks for renovating your home on a budget, cutting costs without cutting corners.
A cheaper contractor isn’t always the best contractor, and you don’t want to be trapped after hiring someone whose levels of quality aren’t quite what you imagined. This is less likely in the age of the Internet, since every service under the sun is now subject to online reviews, and you can easily jump online to see what a contractors previous clients have said about him or her. Alternatively, you could ask family and friends for their recommendations. You place a huge amount of responsibility in your contractors’ hands, so choosing the right one is vital. It also means that you can leave a lot of the work up to them.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can source materials, fixtures and fittings cheaper than a contractor. You might tear your hair out looking for individual items at a discount, but your contractor gets a trade discount- meaning that items can be bought for far cheaper than you’ll ever be able to find them. Cheaper isn’t always the best way to go, and you need to look at certain parts of your home as something that can be depended on for years, and even decades, so don’t cut corners on something like a new water heater. High quality, energy efficient additions to your home will even lower your electric bill.
Do It Yourself (with Limits)
While the more involved aspects of home renovation should be left squarely in the hands of a qualified, licensed and bonded contractor, there are many smaller tasks that you can do yourself, which will end up saving you a lot of money. Pick up a paintbrush and do that wall yourself; and you can also remove old floor tiles, demolish and remove old closets (which is a great stress buster), and rip up the old carpet.
A contractor and his or her assistants can certainly do these things for you, and they might even offer to take care of everything, but doing these additional tasks yourself is something that many of us are perfectly capable of, and might end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
When to Exercise Restraint
If you’ve made the decision to totally remodel the home including the kitchen and bathrooms, you might want to not go so crazy in changing the design of these two key rooms. Rerouting plumbing and drainage can be an absolute nightmare- logistically difficult, as well as terribly expensive. You can certainly install new fittings and countertops, but the physical location of your bathtub, shower, sinks and faucets should be left where they are.
Once a plumber starts rerouting your toilet drainage, you don’t quite know how straightforward the task will be. Sure, you can have a new toilet, bathtub or shower, but they need to be in the same place as the old ones. It might not be perfect, but after all, renovation is a compromise!
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This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger. When she is not working she likes to travel adn read as much as she can. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.