Kelli Brandenberger

Articles and Advice

Budget For Your Next Home Improvement Project

Many homeowners dream of completing their first home improvement project. Kitchens, baths, and additions top the list of projects that improve the functionality and aesthetics of your home. One of the biggest barriers to achieving your home remodeling dreams is money. However, it's possible to make it happen if you take the correct steps to create a budget that will get you to your goal.

  • Get Realistic
    The first step in creating a budget for an entire home remodel is to be realistic about the costs. Even if you skimp here or there, you have to consider potential issues and added time. Working with a reputable contractor may cost more in the beginning, but it often saves money in the end because of experience and better adherence to estimates. It's also essential to be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to the remodel. If you are looking to save by doing some of the work yourself, determine if you really possess the skills, or if it would be more efficient to work extra and find the money to cover it.
  • Find Your Number
    Once you've decided to be realistic about the process, it's time to figure out a number. List what you want done and an estimated cost of materials and labor. Factor in additional costs, like a storage unit to put things in during the renovation or increased heating or cooling bills while a part of your home is exposed to the elements. Getting estimates will also help you zone in on a number.
  • How Long Will it Take?
    There are two ways to fund your remodel. The first is to get a loan. If you decide to go that route, take a good look at your monthly budget. Break down where your money goes, how much you need to put aside for expenses and savings, and how much you may have left to cover a loan payment. You can even look at ways to increase that amount. Start by cutting luxuries, like daily lattes or cable for six months. You can always use an online streaming service or invest in a coffee maker. Once you have an amount, shop for lenders and secure a loan that fits your budget over the right amount of time.

    The second way to get your remodeling money is good old-fashioned savings. Like you would a loan payment, set aside a chunk each month and put it in a special remodeling savings account. If you want to make the remodel happen sooner than later, find ways to earn some extra cash, like increasing your work hours or selling off things you don't use anymore.
  • Be Careful About What You Take On
    Homeowners really can contribute to remodeling projects. Most people are capable of taking on small elements or portions of jobs. For example, you can easily pull the carpet and prepare subfloors for new flooring installations. It will cut the overall cost but leaves the part that requires more skill to the experts. Look carefully at where you can make improvements, and leave the rest to the professionals.

  • Do It Right
    It may be enticing to use Uncle Bob, who used to be a contractor, and pay him cash. You would probably save on permits and work, but it could cost you a lot more in the end in legal fees and having to redo things that weren't covered as they would be with a licensed and bonded contractor. Doing it right is often the best route to take.

If you're ready to budget for a remodel, sit down and look at how to make it happen today.

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