Save Money on Home Improvements

If spending so much time at home lately has you thinking about all the projects you’d like to tackle, you aren’t alone. Even if you don’t have a ton of extra cash right now, there are things you can do to spruce up your house.
Good planning – and a consideration of your skills and free time – can help you save on your next project. Here are some tips to brighten up your home without breaking the bank.

Evaluate how much of the work you can realistically do yourself. For instance, if you’re looking to add a room onto your house, perhaps you can paint the walls and stain and varnish the trim when it’s complete.

Ask your friends. Perhaps your best friend’s husband has a background in construction or carpentry. Maybe your neighbors just redid their porch. If they’re people you trust, you can count on them to give you a great price and quality work. Who knows? They might have time on their hands as well.

Set priorities. Decide what is critical and what isn’t. You may need to rethink the scale of your project to fit your budget, and you may find simple changes – such as new fixtures, a different paint color or improved lighting – can alter the feel of a room without gutting out and overhauling the entire space.

Consider less costly alternatives to project details – such as a prefabricated fireplace unit versus traditional masonry. Or laminate or linoleum countertops instead of granite. Or stock cabinets instead of custom ones.

Plan everything. Do this well ahead of time to avoid making changes once the contractor has started working. Changes usually involve additional costs.

Get a handful of quotes from different contractors. Rates vary widely due to factors like contractors’ schedules, their distance from the job and the time of year.

Try to schedule your project for an “off” time of year. For instance, schedule your central air installation in winter, not summer.

Shop for materials that are on sale. Building supply stores often mark down items due to overstocks or other factors.

Stretch the value of your future dollars by doing improvements that offer a strong return on your investment, especially if you plan to sell your home in a few years. Experts often suggest kitchen appliances, bathrooms and landscaping as some of the top features to capture a buyer’s attention.

If you need funds to help pay for your next project, consider a Home Equity loan from FNCU.