Make a budget first. Plan out what you can realistically spend so you’re not putting yourself in too tight of a position financially. You want to make sure there’s some wiggle room for emergencies (because there will always be some form of “emergency” when renovating!)
Make sure you get multiple estimates:
Get (free) estimates. Even if you plan on doing most of the work yourself – get someone to come out and give you an estimate for a certain job.
We were surprised by some of our estimates we received. Sometimes, a job that would have taken us a few days would only take a contractor a few hours, and it was worth it to pay him to do the work because of all of the time saved. It doesn’t hurt to ask! And if your estimate is high, then you’ll feel better about all of the money you’re saving by doing it yourself.
Get your estimates broken down. For example – we hired an electrician for our house. We asked him to give us a price for 3 can lights in the ceiling, 3 pendants, and plugs in the island. We also had him make a list of “add-ons”. He made separate notes of how much he would charge to move a current hardwired light over a few feet, or add an additional canned light, or add in a plug to a wall that didn’t have any electrical outlets. This way, we could sit down with our budget and figure out which add-ons were worth it and which ones would fit in our budget.
As always – get multiple estimates. We had three contractors out before we found “our guy”. If we would have stopped at two, we would have paid almost 20% more!
Get the RIGHT contractor for your project:
Get a contractor that will work with you.
Once you find a good contractor or handy man, don’t let him go! Sit down and explain your vision and budget concerns. If you have a good fit, then you’ll be able to work together on a project.
For example – we did the drywall on the biggest wall in our kitchen because it was going to be covered up with tile and shiplap. We’re not skilled at drywall installation, but it doesn’t matter when it’s covered up like that. We had our handy man install it in the visible areas in our kitchen, which was able to save us money.
Another example – we installed our wood ceiling and crown molding in our hallway, but there were two cuts that were really tricky and we couldn’t figure them out. Our handy man was able to come over and just charge us for figuring out those two cuts, instead of installing all of the crown molding.
Utilize free online resources:
Get familiar with YouTube (and DIY blogs)
There is so much free information out there! You may feel intimidated by certain projects, but seeing bloggers and other “real people” tackle these same projects is really such a valuable tool.
My husband is a teacher at a seminary and had zero construction experience before we worked on our houses. My dad has also helped a lot, and he’s a doctor with no prior construction experience. They learned a lot through researching every job before we attempted it, and trial and error. It takes a lot longer than it would if a professional was doing it, but the money saved is absolutely worth it.
Realize it might not get done right away:
Prioritize your spending
Make sure you’re not spending money on things that don’t truly need to be fixed. We have plaster all throughout our house, and some people couldn’t believe that we were keeping it up. It needed repairing, but we were able to do that on our own for a MUCH smaller price tag than if we would have ripped out all of the plaster and replaced with drywall.
DIY projects take time – and I’m one of the most impatient people out there. But you’ll pay a heavy price tag to have someone come out and do the work quickly for you. If your end game is to save money, you’re going to have to be patient and enjoy the journey of learning how to do the work yourself. It doesn’t come without frustrations, but it does come with a huge amount of satisfaction and pride!
Stay organized to save money during home renovations:
Organize your spending
It’s easy to spend money without truly realizing where it all went. It’s a terrible feeling to find that your budget is depleting and you’re not truly sure where all of the money went!