How to Spend More Wisely on Home Improvement Projects

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Whether you want to increase the value of your home or just your enjoyment of it, renovation projects can be a huge investment of time and money. But there are ways to update your house without wringing out your wallet. Start stretching your dollar with these tips.

Refresh rather than remodel

Don’t assume that just because a room is outdated or uninspiring you need to gut it and start from scratch. A complete remodel is a time-consuming and costly undertaking. The average cost of a kitchen remodel is $20,474 according to Home Advisor and can go as high as $49,000 for more elaborate projects.

Instead, upgrade your existing fixtures and furnishings. Replacing drawer handles and sink faucets, updating tile counters and floors, installing new light switches and electrical sockets, and making other simple improvements can bring new life to a room and significantly lower your costs. Refacing or refinishing your kitchen cabinets, for example, can cost about one-third less than replacing them according to Angie’s List.

Do what you can yourself

Given how much of home improvements costs are for labor, doing the work yourself is an easy way to save money. Smaller projects like repainting, adding new cabinet hardware, or changing electrical sockets or switches or light fixtures can easily be done on your own with the help of some online instructional videos. Before tackling any electrical work, though, be sure to consult with an electrician.

Even in a more comprehensive renovation such as a bathroom, you can DIY the cosmetic portion, like the paint and fixtures, while leaving the plumbing to a professional.

A DIY approach can also save you money on materials. By purchasing them yourself, you’ll avoid a contractor’s markup, and you can save even more by choosing solid mid-grade materials over premium options.

Know when to call the pros

If you lack the required time or skills, a DIY approach can actually backfire and cost you more in the long run. And projects involving electrical work, gas lines, plumbing, and anything else that poses a risk to you or your home, should always be done by a professional.

The best way to keep costs down when hiring a contractor is to find one who is reliable and has a track record of quality work. It’s generally recommended that you interview at least three contractors and pay attention to how punctual and organized they are. These personal details can be an early sign of whether or not your home improvement project is completed on schedule.

Also, make sure you’re hiring the right contractor for your job. The one who refaced your neighbor’s cabinets may not be the best choice to update your bathroom plumbing, and that could cost you more down the road. And always make sure any contract you sign includes estimates, deadlines, and the materials to be used, and update it in writing if the project details change.

Follow these tips to stay on budget and find inspiration for your next home refresh.

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