When it comes to home improvement projects, no one wants to spend more money on something than they absolutely must. Homeowners who do home projects with an eye toward reselling especially don’t want to overspend. They want to get the most bang for their buck.
Unfortunately, some of the home improvements that increase a home’s value the most are also the most expensive. Kitchens, bathrooms, adding square footage or building an outdoor area are among the tops in return on investment, but that kind of remodeling requires quite an investment.
It’s a conundrum for home sellers. Do you spend big money so that a house will look better for buyers and hope for a better sales price? Or do you skimp on sprucing the place up and live with the sales price you get?
Maybe it can be a little bit of both. With that in mind, here are five ways homeowners can save money when they’re remodeling for resale.
Do What You Can Yourself
Remodeling a kitchen and finishing a basement are big jobs. But things such as a fresh coat of paint, modern light fixtures or even hard-surface flooring can freshen a home quickly and relatively easily. Just about anyone can paint walls, and with newer types of hard flooring, such as luxury vinyl tile, you only have to be somewhat handy to install them.
As for light fixtures, it requires turning off the circuit, removing a couple of screws and reconnecting a couple of wires. If you need to replace an electrical panel or rewire a whole house, sure, call an electrician. But if you’re just switching out lights, there’s no need to pay someone $100 an hour.
Also, thanks to YouTube, you can find how-to videos for just about any do-it-yourself home project.
Provide the Materials
When you do have to hire someone else for a job, you might want to inquire about the cost if you supply the materials yourself. Unfortunately, some contractors mark up the materials when charging consumers.
Getting the materials to the job yourself could allow you to shop around a little, looking for the best price. Transporting materials yourself, if possible, might save on some cost of labor. Or if you have gift cards or earn credit card rewards, buying the materials yourself can allow you to use or earn those things.
On the flip side, there are suppliers that give contractors better pricing. You should ask about whether those savings are passed on to you, or if you pay retail. If it’s the latter, there’s no harm in shopping for a better price.
Save It for the Offseason
Traditionally, the spring and summer are homebuying seasons. They are also when contractors are busiest.
Have you ever tried to hire a landscaper in the spring, when they’re booked solid on jobs? If your home is in need of some work on the exterior, you might want to consider getting it done in the fall, when landscapers are looking for work.
The same goes for other contractors. Painters, for example, aren’t as busy in the winter because they’re limited to interior work. If there’s interior painting you don’t want to tackle yourself, aim for hiring a pro in the winter. Also consider lining up work for late fall, when tradesmen might be looking for extra cash for the holidays.
Refresh or Repair Instead of Replacing
If your washer or dryer breaks down, you might hear that it’s cheaper to replace it than to have it repaired. That, however, isn’t the case with everything in your house.
For instance, if your kitchen cabinets are in need of an upgrade, painting them is likely going to be less expensive than replacing them. Doing it yourself is a big job that has to be done right, but hiring a company to paint them is still more cost-effective than replacing them. Similarly, refinishing hardwood floors is usually more economical than tearing them out and installing new ones.
Be Your Own General Contractor
For big jobs, you might be tempted to hire a general contractor to oversee things. There are general contractors, though, who do little of the actual work themselves. They simply handle the logistics of scheduling and paying sub-contractors, such as plumbers, drywall hangers and electricians. You will pay them just to do that scheduling and payment handling.
Instead, you can get quotes from all the necessary people yourself and schedule all their respective jobs yourself. It involves some work, but doing it yourself means you don’t have to pay someone else to do it.
The goal of every home seller is to get top market value for their home, and sometimes it requires making improvements to the home. But if you’re remodeling for resale, keep in mind these ways to save some money.