Putting Off a Home Renovation? Here Are 4 Tips for Getting Started
by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 13, 2021
Here's how to get a home improvement project off the ground.
In the course of the pandemic, many people have taken to spending more time at home -- especially those whose offices have been shuttered over the past 18 months. It's not surprising, then, that many homeowners have been renovating their properties, whether by adding square footage or reconfiguring their existing setups.
If you've been thinking of renovating your home, you may have encountered some barriers along the way. Cost could be one of them, as could logistics. It's not easy having construction done on your home when you're stuck in it all the time.
Still, renovating your home could be a smart move. Not only might it make your living space more comfortable, but it could also increase the value of your property. And if you're not sure how to get started with your renovations, Bobbi Rebell, CFP® and personal finance expert at debt management app Tally, has some advice.
1. Do your research
Unanticipated costs could throw your home renovation budget off course. That's why it's important to research and plan thoroughly before diving in. As Rebell explains, "The more time and energy you put in before you start your home improvement project, the less likely you are to face unexpected expenses that were missed."
2. Seek out discounts
The cost of many common building and renovation materials has soared in recent months due to supply chain issues. That's why you shouldn't be shy about seeking out discounts. Rebell advises looking for discounts that may be tied to your employer. And if you're making a large purchase from a single store, don't hesitate to ask if they can give you a bulk discount.
3. Figure out your goal in renovating
Some people renovate to increase their property value. Others do so not for financial gain, but for personal enjoyment. But Rebell suggests that you consider the value of your home on a whole before setting a remodeling budget. If a project is likely to increase your property's value, then it could be worth spending more on materials. On the other hand, if your goal is to simply spruce up your living space for your personal enjoyment, you may want to take a more frugal approach.
4. Shop around for labor
You may not be able to handle your home renovations yourself. If that's the case, be sure to talk to a number of contractors before settling on someone for the job.
As Rebell explains, "Pricing for labor can vary by area, season, and availability. It is important to obtain multiple estimates, review ratings and reviews, and talk to a handful of contractors before committing." On top of that, you'll want to make sure any contractor you hire is properly bonded and insured. And it wouldn't hurt to speak to property owners who have used that contractor to see what their experience entailed.
Are you ready to get started with renovations?
If you're eager to get your home renovations going, you'll need to figure out how you'll pay for them. You may decide to take out a renovation loan and use the proceeds for your upcoming project. Or, you may decide to borrow against your home equity. Either way, make sure you have a solid game plan for covering your costs so you're not forced to whip out a credit card in a pinch.
Home renovations can be very rewarding, and it's not uncommon to take on some type of debt in the course of pursuing them. But it's important to keep your interest charges to a minimum, which largely means steering clear of credit cards and focusing on more affordable borrowing options instead.
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