Tips and Tricks to Renovate Your House on a Budget 

 September 3, 2019

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

Home renovations are messy, time-consuming, and most of all – costly. Still, many people choose to renovate their homes for many reasons, such as to improve its value, address a safety issue, make it more cost-efficient and functional, or increase the comfort or enjoyment of their home.

The average cost of home remodeling in the U.S. is $46103 and each renovation project can cost anywhere from $3,671 – $150,000, depending on many factors such as the size of the area and how extensive you want it to be.

The amount of work required to achieve your desired results is tantamount to the cost of the project. Take note that most renovation jobs not only make your home an enjoyable place to live it but more importantly, they augment the resale value and equity of your property.

The good news is, there are tricks and techniques that can help lower your renovation costs. Check these out!

Start off with a plan

Image credits

The first and most important step in a budget-friendly home improvement or renovation project is to plan well.

When planning it out, ask yourself – why do you want to renovate? Do you want to extend your home or make it smaller? Do you wish to add more rooms to suit your growing family? Or do you want to give certain parts of your home a facelift? Being clear about your home renovation goal will help you figure out how much you need and how much money goes to what.

Detect factors that affect the cost of home renovations

The overall cost of your home renovation project can depend on several factors:

  • Your location – there’s a huge variance in the cost of labor between states. If your state has a relaxed rule on hiring labor, you can expect to pay less. Labor cost is probably the most expensive aspect of home renovation. Even if you ask your contractor to use less manpower, you can still end up paying more if you factor in the time extension to complete the project.
  • Materials – the prices of construction materials increase each year and adjust by season (e.g. prices are usually higher after a natural disaster like a storm). A granite tile looks lovelier than an ordinary tile at just $1 difference. But if you consider how many tiles you need, you might be shocked to see your bill at the cashier. A trick to save money on material cost is to look for affordable alternatives. Marble countertops, for instance, is as beautiful and durable as granite but costs cheaper. Do your research before purchasing materials.

Another thing, check if there are existing items or materials that you can reuse for your renovation. For instance, instead of totally replacing your kitchen cabinets, consider refacing doors to update its style.

  • Seasonal factors – Summer and spring are the seasons when most homeowners choose to start a renovation project. But budget-wise, they aren’t (think demand and supply). If your project can wait, consider doing it when contractors are less busy.

Create a budget and stick to it

If you really wish to renovate your house economically, it is important to decide on your spending limits. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. You will need to contact local contractors to get a close estimate of your renovation needs. Request bids from multiple contractors and inquire about the prices of the materials you need.

Once you’ve set the price, be sure to set aside money for cushion, which is 10-20% of your budget. No matter how well-planned your renovation is, something can go wrong along the way. By setting a percentage of your budget as a buffer, you will know you have the funds available to finish your home renovation no matter what.

Start off with the most essential renovations

Who wouldn’t love the idea of renovating their entire house? However, if you don’t have enough budget, consider focusing on the most important areas first. Maybe you want to have a more stylish bedroom but your kitchen has gotten smaller now and you need to have more storage. Prioritize functionality over beauty. This way, you can minimize the renovation cost as much as you can. Even if you are renovating just one area, say, for example, the living room – check the parts that need to be repaired first before going into the design details.

Research before you shop

When shopping for furniture, furnishings, décor, and appliances, take your time researching for the most affordable suppliers and shops. See if you can purchase some items online because they are usually cheaper than their storefront versions. Yet, be cautious about purchasing very cheap items, especially if the prices are too good to be true. Don’t sacrifice quality over the price. Home products are significant investments. Buy products that will last for long and will give your home an added value.

Pay with cash

After determining your budget, decide on how you are financing it. To significantly reduce your renovation cost, and if you have the means, choose to pay in cash instead of taking out a loan or using your credit card. The latter options will cost you interest and you might end up paying more than what you planned for.

DIY some things

Image credits

Doing it yourself is probably the most effective way to save money on home renovations. But remember that you will not be able to do it all unless of course, you do home improvement jobs for a living. You may not be able to put up drywall, or you might feel uncomfortable laying a tile. That’s okay. You could end up spending more trying to force things. Check out the things you can do by yourself with confidence and leave the rest to the professionals.

Dust control during a home renovation

Controlling dust is important in any home renovation project. Without making proper measures to control the dust and debris, you are not only compromising your indoor air quality (which in turn affects your health), you could also be exposing your valuable furniture and other possessions to costly damage.  You should also pay attention to indoor air quality testing  to always be confident that your home is safe against air pollutants. Additionally, effective dust control can help you save more money as you’re less likely to hire cleaners after the renovation work.

So, how do you control dust and keep your home clean during a renovation? Check out these tips:

Isolate the renovation area – Use plastic barriers or tarp to seclude the renovation area and avoid the proliferation of dust throughout your home.

Cover furniture – Cover heavy/immovable furniture with plastic. Take out the rest.

Use air scrubber – There are tools that can greatly help control dust in your home, such as air scrubbers. These are a portable filtration system that doesn’t just remove dust but also eliminate gasses and chemicals in the air within the covered area.

Perform a daily cleanup – Keep up with the daily cleanup. Ask your contractor to tidy everything up before they leave for the day.

You don’t have to break your bank to keep up with the costs of home renovations. With these tips and tricks, you can achieve your home renovation goals while sticking to a reasonable budget.

Related Posts

Alternative Ways to Get Equity Out of Your Home

Alternative Ways to Get Equity Out of Your Home

How Long Does a HELOC Take?

How Long Does a HELOC Take?

Are There Closing Costs On a Home Equity Loan?

Are There Closing Costs On a Home Equity Loan?

Are HECM Loans a Good Idea?

Are HECM Loans a Good Idea?

I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.