Every home has a room that could use a makeover. That’s daunting enough, but full-scale renovations can be positively overwhelming.
The good news is, if you’re faced with a renovation project there are some easy ways to build on a budget and love the results.
When in Doubt, Plan It Out
Planning is probably the single most important way to keep costs down. Typically, when renovations break the bank, it’s because there was no plan. To avoid changing plans mid-project, spend time up front creating a clear, realistic picture of what you’re looking to accomplish with your renovation. If you plan carefully, you shouldn’t run into unexpected expenses when remodeling.
Pick the Right People
When it comes to home renovation, you have to spend money to save money. This seems counterintuitive—why wouldn’t you simply pick the contractor who can complete the job at the lowest price? The simple answer is that quality matters. Lots of people will advertise to get your business, but they may not be right for the job. That’s why it is important to use word-of-mouth references and reviews from sites like HomeAdvisor to find a contractor who can accomplish your goals on your terms.
Don’t Rush the Bidding Process
Renovation experts agree: you need to collect at least three bids for your project before choosing one. Patience pays off here. Bidding out the contract could help you find the support you need, and at the very least could allow you to leverage your bids against one another to bring costs down, if you already have a contractor in mind.
You’ll probably work with an architect in addition to contractors, but their roles differ significantly. Architects want to sell ideas — their job is to create, and your job is to pay for that creation. That’s why it’s important to consistently talk to your architect and contractor about your budget constraints. This will keep your architect from suggesting a 10-foot waterfall in the kitchen, and will also help your contractor as he or she purchases supplies for the project.
Hire a Reputation, Not a Result
Reputation is the gold standard in the home construction business. Since hiring a contractor without the right reviews can lead to not-so-great results (see above), you’re best off paying extra for someone who you know can deliver. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a residential contractor to begin a project without finishing it. If you’ve hired someone with great reviews, or whose work you’ve seen before, you’re much more likely to end up the envy of your friends instead of getting stuck with a never-ending project.
Renovations are no small undertaking and should be handled responsibly. Once you create a budget, take steps to stick to it. Ultimately, that’s how dream homes are made.
This post is from Prosper Marketplace, a leading online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors, and a popular alternative to traditional loan options. If you are looking to borrow money for a remodeling project, consider a home improvement loan through Prosper.