Home improvement has always been recognized as one of the most fulfilling projects. The opportunity to express your creativity (and the fact that you’re adding value to something that you’ve already invested a lot on) in a big building project is almost the same feeling as watching a child grow into a responsible adult.
Well, maybe not quite.
But the fact remains that it is indeed a good feeling to be able to build something worthy of your pride. It’s nice to visualize how your new deck is going to look or how that new shed is going to be something to behold, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality.
But reality is a cruel mistress and well, we need to acknowledge the facts: Most novices who take on a home improvement projects run into MAJOR headaches. The budget goes bust, the materials aren’t available, basic things are forgotten (that may mean starting the project over again). Good renovations don’t happen without good plans. Here are four that you need to cover before starting any new work.
Set your priorities before you do anything else. The budget may get away from you, and you don’t want to be stuck with a room that looks half-done. Handle the biggest pieces and features first, and then bring in the accents later if you run out of time.
It’s also wise to consider where you are most willing to cut costs. Maybe you’re doing a kitchen renovation and you care more about the countertops than the tiles. Put your priorities in order so that you already have a decision process in place if something costs more than you expected.
On that note, build a strong budget!
This will always be a factor in whatever you do in your adult life. The trick to a good budget is to wait until your savings plan becomes steady so that you can measure out how many of the months of payments ahead are worth the renovation of your dreams.
If you want to do the renovation on credit, that’s not always a bad decision. If you pay it off in a timely fashion, your credit score will benefit. You could apply for a credit card that’s intended specifically for funding home improvement projects. A credit card may be the best option for you if you need a financial buffer and don’t want to spend your entire cash budget in one go. You never know when you might need extra cash.
Budget is not the same as costing. Budget is the total amount you have to work with. Costing is the assigning of the budget to each individual part of the project. This factor includes everything from contractor quotes, to the cost of materials, to the time (which is a resource that is overlooked too often) required to complete the project.
Ideally, you’re going to want to get the items you want the most for the least money, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. Some materials are cheaper in the fall, some are cheaper during the holidays. Some go on clearance during the summer. You may end up getting a great price on your floors, but pay through the nose for your counters.
The secret to planning your costing so that you save the most money is being ready to plan your renovation as far as a year in advance. That way you can write out all of your materials and just sweep each one up when it hits its best price for the year. You have to wait a long time to put them together, but waiting will mean massive savings.
Now, since I’ve mentioned time as a factor, you also need to consider when you’re going to proceed with the project. This article is an informative guide on when you should be doing your home improvement projects.
Now, things aren’t always going to flow your way. It’s always best to set aside emergency cash to keep your project going. Remember that the goal here is to ensure that your project gets finished. There are many extraneous variables that could hinder that goal. (Natural disasters, accidents, sometimes even abrupt and intense inflation rates.)