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Save Money On Home Improvement Projects

Outside of buying a home, some of the most costly expenses are related to home improvements and/or remodeling. If it's a small job, painting, cleaning the carpet, etc., the costs should be minimal. But if you take on a large project, such as changing the plumbing, installing a new roof, putting in a new driveway, gutting the kitchen or bathroom and refurbishing them, or adding on new rooms, you should take a careful look at the costs to complete the jobs.

Don't be fooled. Unless you can do plumbing, carpentry, electrical, concrete, dry walling, and other such tasks yourself, you will have to hire a contractor and/or subcontractors. Labor and building materials can get very expensive. Cutting costs is not always the best way to go because, remember the saying, you get what you pay for.

It is up to you to keep your home improvement project within your budget. First of all, before you even start the job, think it through. Make a firm commitment to do just the improvements you set out to make. what you want to accomplish, the amount it's going to cost, and how much money you have to spend on the project.

If you take on a major project yourself, make sure you have the time and know how to handle it. If you screw something up, you will have to fix it yourself or hire someone to come in and undo what you did and then start all over again. This can get very expensive and time consuming.

  • Note: Many people start what they think are simple, easy to do projects and half way through, they realize that they have gotten in way over their heads.

As always, investigate a contractor's work history by asking to see jobs that he has already completed and before signing a contract with them, check with your states Contractor's Licensing Board to make sure their license is valid.

  • Note: Just because a person shows you a contractor's license number doesn't mean that it's his. He could have gotten the number off another contractor's business card and is fraudulently using it. Most contractors are legitimate business men and women, but their are people out there who are dishonest and will take advantage of you. So you should make a serious effort to make sure that your contractor is legitimate.

How do you save money on home improvement projects? Some simple steps you can take to keep your costs down.

  1. First of all, take your time. Research your project carefully and make up your mind exactly how you want your project to look and what you want to accomplish. Once you get started, try not to deviate to much from your plan.
  2. Buy your own supplies even if you use a contractor. And don't be embarrassed to ask the contractor if he has materials left over from other jobs. Many do and they may give it to you at a big discount or, in some cases, not charge you for them at all.
  3. Shop around for the best deals on materials. If a contractor has to buy additional supplies, ask for receipts. Some contractors will pad the cost of materials to make a little additional money for themselves.
  4. Check out contractor auctions and other resources such as warehouses that sell used and refurbished materials.
  5. Even if you use a contractor, there may still be things that you can do yourself to finish the project such as cleaning, sanding, painting, staining, etc., that may save you money.
  6. If you don't have the money to do everything at once, complete one project at a time. There is nothing worse than having to look at a lot of unfinished work.
  7. Try not to build more than your neighborhood warrants. Many people get in the adding on craze and overbuild for the neighborhood.
  8. Before adding on rooms and pouring money into your home, ask yourself if you want more room or another neighborhood. Many people spend thousands of dollars remodeling only to realize that the problem is not the home, it's the neighborhood.
  9. If you can, do not finance a project by getting a loan on your property. The interest payments will be high.
  10. Barter for help. If you have neighbors, relatives, friends, or if you are involved in social networks, offer your skills for their projects and get them to do work for you in return. Bartering may be a win-win situation for all involved.

Some people change their minds in the middle of a project. They expect the contractor to redo, undo, or start a project over from scratch because it's not what they really want. Remember, you can't expect a contractor, or anyone else, to deviate from the original plan and not charge more for the extra work. This is why you should know exactly what you want done before the contractor gets started. If not, changes may cost you more.

There are many other ways to save money on home improvement projects. Click here for more information.

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