In the wake of the housing crisis, more people are investing money in their homes when buying a new one is not an option. Even if you are brand new to the do-it-yourself (DIY) lifestyle, renovating your place is easier than you may realize. Here are six of the best ways to save money on your home projects.
Pick the Right Projects
If you watch a lot of home improvement shows, you've probably observed that most people's motivation for undertaking a home makeover is enhancing overall property value. Conventional wisdom says that making improvements to your kitchen and bathrooms will lend the biggest boost to your bottom line. While there are some arguments to the contrary, this strategy is a pretty safe bet.
Think of your housing project as an investment for the future. While you can have fun with a new coat of paint and some fresh window treatments, you should always have an eye on protecting your investment. Make a list of everything you believe could use updating. Then, perform a bit of research to determine which renovations sustain value over time.
Do the Math
Many consumers are intimidated by home improvement projects due to fear of the unknown. For example, an often-quoted estimate is that the average cost of a kitchen makeover is $53,931. People hear that number, realize that's the cost of buying a couple of cars, and decide to maintain the status quo. Take a deep breath. You don't have to spend anywhere near that much. By following a few DIY suggestions and employing a remodeling estimator, you may discover that your kitchen makeover can be done for $20,000 or less, depending upon what is needed.
Deck Your Halls
Research shows that a new wood deck costing $10,000 can retain as much as $8,740 of the investment. That kind of project embodies the perfect marriage of current needs and future home appraisal enhancement.
Right now, you can enjoy barbecuing steaks on a grill you buy for your new deck. Down the road, when you are ready to sell your current residence, the money you spent will inflate your asking price. In the meantime, have fun decorating it with fantastic accessories like a bird feeder or an old-fashioned rocking chair. Head to an outdoor furniture specialist like YardEnvy.com, and enjoy knowing that you can afford to splurge a bit since you have already protected your investment.
Open a New Door
Believe it or not, there is an even simpler solution that can return as much as 96.6 percent of your financial expenditure. It's a new door. While this change won't improve your quality of living, it does go a long way toward improving the curb appeal of your home. After all, it's the first thing any visitor will see when they come in.
Find a Ned Flanders
Homer Simpson is always borrowing his next-door neighbor's tools. Even though he is yellow (and fictional), the world's favorite cartoon dad has the right idea. There is no point in buying a new batch of specialized tools for a short-term undertaking.
Let your friends and coworkers know about your project. Find out if they have anything helpful that you can use for a couple of months. If they don't, check Craigslist and similar communities to see if somebody in your area is renting or selling the item you need for cheaper than retail. You want every dime going toward your project, not toward tools you may never use again.
Install Dimmer Switches
Not every addition is about home value. Money you have today is always better than money you may have tomorrow, so take the opportunity to increase your electrical efficiency. Dimmers and halogen bulbs will not be features that sell your home quickly, but they will save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs over time. That's money you can use the next time you want to remodel!
Renovating your home is an exciting but scary process. Using the tips above, you'll be able to find the perfect balance between your immediate needs and protecting your housing investment over time.