One of the biggest things that stops us from taking on that dream renovation is the fear of being charged a higher amount than you were expecting. Seeing an unexpected number on the final bill can take away the excitement you felt about your newly completed project. To ensure you love your home even more once the project is complete, there are a couple of ways you can ensure you don’t end up overpaying.
1. Communicate with your Pro
Just like any relationship, things can go awry when communication isn’t clear. If you want 3 new pot lights installed, but your pro installs 30, there’s going to be a big difference in cost. This is why it’s so important to make sure you both understand and communicate what is expected from the project. Have the company write up a contract that includes the scope of work, timeline, costs and payment terms. This way if anything goes wrong, you can refer back to the original contract and see what happened. Do not hire a company who will not provide you with a contract that outlines the final cost. Also, never pay upfront before the work is complete. You could end up overpaying for subpar work.
2. Set a Budget and Stick To It
Having a budget during any home improvement project is a must. It will help keep you on track and will remind you not to go for any last minute upgrades you haven’t planned for. Sure, nicer bathroom flooring may only cost you $10 more per square foot, but if your bathroom is 50 square feet you’re looking at an additional $500 you hadn’t planned on spending. Little upgrades like this can quickly add up to you blowing your budget. If you’re concerned, talk to your pro about how to adjust your budget so you can get the look you want with the budget you have.
3. Plan for the Unexpected
Ideally, there will be no knob and tube wiring, no rotten floorboards, and no burst pipes during your project. In reality, things can go wrong and problems can pop up no matter how much we plan or research. This is why it’s important to set aside money that can cover unexpected costs during a home improvement project. This is known as a contingency budget. Generally, 10-20% of the total cost of the project will make up your contingency budget. If nothing goes wrong during your project, you’ll have a little bit of money left to splurge on something nice or save for another home improvement project. If something does go wrong, you’ll be happy you side this money aside.
4. Proper Permits in Place
There’s no sense in building a big, beautiful deck off the back of your home if you have to tear it down due to lack of permits. Permits are required to make sure the work you’re doing on your home is safe. Without the proper permits in place, there’s a chance your project won’t be to code and you’ll have to undo all the work you just paid for. Not having proper permits could even affect your ability to sell your home in the future, something that would be a big issue for those renovating with the intention to sell. Speak to your pro about ensuring all the proper permits are in place.
5. DIY When You Should Have Hired a Pro
While you may think you can easily save a couple extra bucks by tearing out your kitchen yourself before the new one is installed, you may accidentally knock out a pipe from your sink and cause a flood you didn’t have before. Your DIY attempt could turn into an expensive second project you didn’t want in the first place. There are certain projects you should never attempt yourself, out of safety to you and your home. Save yourself the risk and the potential additional costs and always hire a pro.
You can avoid overpaying for your next project as long as you follow these tips. Be sure to communicate with your pro, stick to your budget and contingency plan, get the right permits and never attempt a dangerous DIY. Improving your home should be a rewarding experience, not one that puts you into debt. When you’re ready to start your next project, start by getting 3 free quotes on HomeStars.
Article updated November 28, 2019.