Renovating your home is a great way to add value while giving you and your family the extra space you want. We've all heard stories about runaway renovation costs and how a home renovation can end up costing way more than originally budgeted, but fortunately, there are a number of ways you can save yourself some money while renovating.
Plan Ahead and Don't Rush
Whether you're trying to save energy, add more space or simply upgrade your home's appearance, planning up front before diving in is important. Early planning allows you to space out the timing of your renovation and hopefully avoid borrowing money to pay for it. The interest charges on borrowed money will add a lot to the cost of any home renovation.
Check out prices of major items like fixtures and appliances, so you'll have an idea of their everyday prices. This way you'll know if a "sale" item is really a bargain and you can buy it ahead of time.
Decide what's really important in your renovation. Sure, updated kitchens and baths are great, but do you really need to move the sink from one side of the room to the other? Moving plumbing and wiring is expensive so it's best to avoid if possible. Also, use stock sizes. Custom doors and windows are expensive. While they can add a unique appearance, are they really worth the premium over standard doors and windows? Standard flatpack cabinets from building supply dealers are another area where you can save lots of money rather than buying custom built-ins.
Source Materials Yourself
You may be able to get a contractor's discount on supplies. Talk to the staff at the building supply center, explain you're undertaking a renovation and will buy all your materials from them in exchange for a discount on your total purchases.
Alternatively, consider using recycled or salvaged materials. The ReStores run by Habitat for Humanity have a great selection of cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures as well as tiles and even paint. There are more than 400 of them across the country, so finding one close to home shouldn't be a problem. As an added bonus, they may actually pick up your old fixtures or cabinets (saving you taking them to the landfill) and even give you a tax receipt. Craig's list and Freecycle are another easy to use source of salvaged materials that can save you literally thousands on your renovation.
Do Some Work Yourself
You may not be a custom carpenter or a certified plumber, but you can certainly take cabinets apart, keep the work area tidy and haul scrap to the landfill. Installing fiberglass insulation and picking up supplies are other things you might do rather than pay your contractor or his people to do.
A few extra steps can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, as well as in newspapers and books in both the U.S. and Canada. He is regularly cited as an expert on home related topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com.