Budgeting for home improvements has always been a challenge. It's impossible to know exactly your expenses because new issues can arise and call for additional purchases. Unexpected challenges such as previously unknown plumbing issues are common, so it's important to have plans in place to keep costs under control.
Our real estate agents suggest budgeting for home improvement projects using the following tips:
- Have a plan.
Figure out what your priorities are when you're planning to renovate your home. Make a list of the most important changes while also putting down some bells and whistles that would be nice to have. You may for example, desperately need new flooring, or perhaps you've decided that while new flooring would be nice, you may be able to clean and buff your existing ones if needed. This prioritized list can be adjusted as needed along the way as you learn your estimated costs.
- Determine how you'll pay for your home renovation.
Ideally, you'll take time to save up the amount you'll need so you can pay for your renovation in cash. If you don't have the cash on hand or think you won't be able to save it in a reasonable period of time, you may want to look into getting a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This type of loan can be available to homeowners who have good credit and have built up enough equity in their homes. You can also consider refinancing your home if you're paying a relatively high interest rate on your mortgage. Just make sure to include any fees you may need to pay for.
- Choose the right contractor.
Get recommendations for a contractor from friends, relatives, neighbors, and your real estate agent, who has a working relationship with many home improvement experts. Interview from 3 to 5, evaluating their professionalism and even things like punctuality when you schedule a meeting with them. As you get bids for your home project, don't be tempted to hire a contractor whose bid seems either too high or too low. Although a bid that's substantially lower than the rest may sound good, it may indicate the contractor cuts corners.
- Find ways to save if necessary.
If your dreams exceed your budget, check to see if you can save money along the way without sacrificing what you want. For example, you may be able to reduce your costs by doing some of the work yourself. You may be able to paint, remove cabinets, put up tile, or complete other tasks that don't require a great deal of expertise.
- Plan for cost overruns.
Home renovation projects are well known for frequently going over time and budget. Build a 10-15% cushion into your budget from the start, and you'll be able to withstand unforeseen problems such as plumbing issues that were previously undetected.
Contact us to learn more about budgeting for your home renovation project. We can help you determine which changes are most important and which will pay off when it comes time to put your home on the market alongside other Southport homes for sale.