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32 Ways to Save During a Home Renovation

Save money in big ways during your remodel with these tips.

BookFamily Handyman

Get efficient

There are easier ways to gain some room around the house rather than tearing down walls. Consider some simple solutions that will give you more space in the kitchen and other areas. Also, try these weekend projects that will add value to your home.

PeopleFamily Handyman

Shop for a contractor

Even if you’re an avid DIYer, you’ll eventually need a job done that’s just too big or complex to tackle by yourself. That’s when you hire a contractor. But how do you know you’re getting the best deal? Well, first, make sure you follow all the time-honored advice like asking friends and family to recommend a contractor, making sure you hire someone you’re comfortable with, and verifying that the contractor has been in business for a while and has liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Interview at least three contractors so you can compare the bids. When you meet with them to discuss the job, you should ask these questions to be confident that you’re getting the most for your remodeling dollar. These are the secrets contractors wish they could tell you.

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Have a budget

Knowing your budget—and sticking to it—is one of the most important parts of renovation planning. Remember to add in a contingency fund for any unexpected costs—and expect to use it—as well as incidental costs like the cost of eating out for a kitchen reno, or even taking a hotel for a night or two.

It can be easy to want a top-of-the-line renovation, but perhaps all you need are some cheap upgrades. Do your research and plan your budget before ever lifting a hammer. These inexpensive kitchen upgrades will make your home look more expensive.

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Do your research

Take the time to chat with friends, family, and neighbors about the renovation work they have done, and the challenges they have faced during the process. Having a wealth of information from homeowners who have been in your shoes can be invaluable in the planning process, and this information may alter your end plan. All contractors wish first-time home buyers knew these secrets.

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Obtain permits

Many homeowners consider obtaining a building permit as an unnecessary headache which can slow down the renovation process, but permits are a necessary part of the process in most cases, which can come back to haunt you if not obtained in the first place. Building permits are necessary to ensure your house remodel meets structural and fire safety requirements and code inspectors in most jurisdictions can make you rip out non-conforming work if not up to snuff. This can create a very expensive headache when looking to sell your home down the road. It’s always advisable to think ahead and ensure the permit process is followed. Don't do these home renovations you're likely to regret later.

RubbleFamily Handyman

Be a smart packer

Renting a trash bin isn’t cheap, so take advantage of every square inch of it by strategically placing the debris in the container instead of tossing it in willy-nilly. Long boards should always run the length of the container. Set in large, hollow items like bathtubs or sinks open side up so you can fill them in instead of creating a void. When it comes to big renovations, make sure you finish these elements before winter. 

Use small pieces to fill in and around large ones. Think of the debris as puzzle pieces, each with its own proper spot. If your trash bin has a door, don’t park the bin so close to the house that you can’t open it. Walking in heavy items is a lot easier than lifting them over the side. Also, make sure you order the proper size. If you explain your project to the sanitation company, the staff should be able to suggest a bin size that’s right for your project. This home remodeling checklist will keep you on track.

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Consult the calendar

If you’re hoping for a brand new home for a particular event or holiday, make sure you look at your end date and work your way backward. Be sure to pencil in a few weeks to a month at the end for wiggle-room in case there are delays on the way to avoid disappointment. Also, if you can, try to avoid getting work done during the peak remodeling season, you’ll save some money. Learn how to complete a renovation without you and your partner getting a divorce.

SkylightFamily Handyman

Add light without windows

You may not need to invest a bunch of money in new, bigger windows to bring in more light to your home. Skylights have their drawbacks because they can lead to moisture problems if not installed correctly but they can add a ton of light to a home at a lower cost.

SprayFamily Handyman

Watch your walls

Consider replacing a wall if the repair costs are going to exceed replacement costs. The labor of repairing a banged-up will eat up your dough so weigh your options carefully. These are the home improvement projects you should never, ever DIY.

PaintFamily Handyman

Cabinet color

You don’t have to get rid of those ugly, old cabinets. You can always just throw a coat of paint on them to save some big bucks. Get an idea of how to paint kitchen cabinets easily.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman