When maintaining a home, sooner or later, from leaky faucets to cracked paint, various things will go wrong. As expensive as this can be, it is certainly cheaper than the alternative of buying a new home, which is why many people opt to fix up the home they already have. Whatever the repair or remodeling job, here are some ways to save money.
Don’t go into your home improvement project blind. Do some research and find out what supplies you need and how much they will cost. Make sure all costs are included, including the cost of a contractor, if required. This will give you an idea of how to plan your budget.
Planning ahead will also help you prioritize. Perhaps you have only enough money for one major repair, so you will have to choose whether you should add that island in the kitchen or replace the carpet with hardwood flooring.
Hire a licensed contractor
Sure, a licensed contractor often charges more than an unlicensed one. With a licensed contractor, however, you are getting experience and a guarantee that the work will meet quality standards. With an unlicensed contractor, the quality may be so poor that things may have to be redone. Contact your state’s licensing board to check the status of your contractor.
When getting quotes, contact several contractors to compare prices. Ask them to break down labor and material costs so you can see in what areas you can save money. Ask the contractors if they offer any discounts if you, for example, buy the materials yourself.
Be wary of fast-talking contractors
Along the same lines, you should be wary of some of the tactics contractors may use to take advantage of homeowners. A contractor should be willing to offer you a free estimate and be available to answer any questions you may have or offer suggestions. If a contractor uses lingo that you do not understand or tries to convince you that a need a $10,000 repair for what seems like a simple fix, look elsewhere. The possibility of being sold unnecessary repairs is one of the reasons it is always helpful to get quotes from at least three contractors.
Do repairs that save money
There are several inexpensive things you can do to greatly extend the life of your home. For example, changing filters regularly will improve the air quality of your home. Caulking around sinks and bathtubs should also be done as needed. Caulk can come loose after a few years, and the excess moisture can cause mold to form. Worse yet, it can result in leaks.
It is also a good idea to fix leaks as they happen. A leaky faucet or toilet just adds on to your water bill. In addition, it can create mold or stains. Leaks are often quick and cheap fixes that simply involve a new washer. A faucet aerator can also save you money as they reduce the water flow of faucets.
Another money-saving fix you can do is shampoo your carpet. Dirt, mud and pet stains can make your once-white carpet look old and dingy. Shampooing your carpet regularly removes dirt and pet hair and keeps it looking brand new, reducing the need for new replacement, which can cost several thousand dollars or more. You don’t need a professional cleaning every time. You can rent a carpet cleaner or buy one and watch it pay for itself after several uses.
Use salvaged materials
This may sound tacky to some people, but salvage yards have many treasures for those remodeling their homes. Many contractors use them for their projects. Salvaged materials can be bought for much cheaper than new ones, plus they allow you to be creative and find novel ways to use such products. This Old House has more information about why and how you should buy reclaimed lumber.
Like many things, shopping online can yield discounts and the same goes for building materials. Compare in-store and online prices and see how much you can save.
Save energy, save money
Although you will pay more upfront for Energy Star appliances, they will save you money on energy bills in the long run. The Energy Star website has more information about how you can save money.
Combine your list
If you have multiple projects that you would like done, have a contractor do them all for you at once. You will likely save time and money, and you will save your contractor the frustration of having to schedule and coordinate multiple visits.
Do it yourself
Many small projects can be done without the expenses of a contractor. If you need to install a new appliance or fix a leaky faucet, contact your local home improvement store and get advice on how to do it yourself. There are also plenty of websites and online videos at sites to include YouTube that show how to do different things. Not only will you save money, but you will learn a useful skill as well.
Save on taxes
If you are remodeling your home or putting on an addition, you may qualify for tax credits or deductions. Go to the IRS website and see what is possible.
Following these money-saving tips will keep your home functioning and looking like new for many years to come.