Smart Cents: How to Budget your Build Without Cutting Corners

Remodeling your home can help boost its value should you decide to sell down the road. Here are a few ideas to help you save in ways that don’t compromise on quality, when a tighter budget is called for.

You don’t have to completely remodel a room.

You can make a room look new while saving money if you stick with some things that were original to the room, and/or replace key elements instead of the whole room. Painting existing walls is a well known update. For your kitchen or bathroom for instance, consider painting the cabinetry instead of a complete replacement.

Removing and updating handles and knobs for cabinet doors and drawers will help refresh a room. Think about updating light fixtures as well. These types of items can immediately give the impression of a more contemporary space and cost less than a whole room remodel. Refinishing wood flooring is also a way to reuse existing materials to make an old room like new, or keep existing flooring if it is still in good shape.

Use off-the-shelf dimensions from the manufacturer.

Save money by avoiding the high costs of custom-built materials. If you are able to do a little research to see what sizes are common to the things you’d like to change, you can save cash because it doesn’t have to be specially made. Cabinetry typically comes in off-the-shelf, semi-custom, and fully customized price points. However, you may have to relinquish some control over design specifics when choosing off-the-shelf.

Choose a design-build firm to help you budget your build.

Design/Remodeling firms like ours fully manage remodeling projects from repairs to renovations. We help you save time by managing multiple tradesmen and schedules for you, and help you stay within your budget by planning costs upfront instead of during the project. It’s what we do, so we’re efficient and we’re familiar with materials, processes, and quality.

We are also able to narrow down material choices for you to choose from that fit within your budget range, so you’re not endlessly searching or choosing outside of your budget. By discussing up front what your budget is, and choosing your priorities (maybe splurging on a marble bathroom countertop, but painting existing cabinetry that is still holding up) will help your remodeling team plan your project specifically for your desires and your budget needs.

Don’t move the big stuff.

If your budget is more limited, keeping the same or a similar layout can help reduce costs vs. the more expensive moving of plumbing or load-bearing walls. In many cases it’s possible to plan your remodel within the existing layout. Refreshing with updates can still make a room look dramatically different.  You may even be able to upgrade materials, by saving in other areas.

Professional workmanship can’t be completed by an amateur.

While some smaller projects can absolutely be done by watching YouTube instructional videos, some minor and all major home renovations should be completed by professionals who have years of experience and lots of expertise. Projects can be completed in a more timely way when done by those who know exactly how to do them. It can be emotionally and monetarily tolling to fix what an unqualified person started. 

Good contractors also come with guarantees, so that things can be fixed later if they break. If you’re still looking to save money, hire the contractor, but find out what services they perform that cost more in order to plan wisely with your specific home or office’s needs.  If you come upon an unexpected setback like mold, rot, or degrading pipes, it’s nice to already have knowledgeable professionals on hand to advise you on the most cost effective solution who can also quickly address the problem. This is one corner you do not want to cut, as it could cost you much more later if missed or incorrectly repaired by an amateur.

Make use of your resources.

If you don’t have materials for reuse in your house, check out places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore or building auctions. Sometimes you can save by seeking quality materials at discounted prices. Hunting for salvage materials may take more time than you’re ready to spend, but it can be less expensive if the materials you find are the same size as what you’re replacing, or if they are of a standard size that do not need customization to fit.

As you’re planning your remodel and considering how to budget wisely, remember that saving money in the short term can mean lots of money spent long term, if not done the right way. Remodel smartly by spending a few extra dollars to be sure something is done right the first time. Our design-build professionals have experience working on projects big and small, as well as budgets that vary widely. We can sit down with you to determine a plan to make your vision a reality. Contact us today!