Often with the joys of the holiday decorating come the woes of “I really need to get that fixed…” If you live in an older home, you’ll likely need a remodel at some point. The older the home, the more major the remodel might need to be. Even if you’ve got a newer home and just want to update a room or two, the price tag can come with some sticker shock! Many homeowners don’t realize just how expensive remodeling a home can be. I’ve been in this business for many years and can say with a lot of certainty that it’s not going to get any cheaper. Budgeting for a remodel is key.

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Here are a few tips on how to remodel your home without breaking the bank.

Set money aside every month.

This is ideal but not always possible – sometimes your home needs a remodel because of structural problems or some other major issue, but if you just want to change things a bit, it helps to plan ahead. If you put $150 a week away for a year, you’ll have $7800. It adds up quick. 

Get a few estimates on what you want done so you know what you’re getting into.

You may think that the job can be done for $1000 when reality is that it will cost $5000. Knowing up front approximately how much your upgrade will cost will help you plan accordingly (see #1). Pro tip: Be sure that you’re dealing with reputable contractors that have local references. 

Consider financing.

If you’ve got big ideas and smaller pockets, you might want to think about getting a home equity loan or line of credit. In most cases,  the longer you’ve been paying the mortgage on your home, the more equity you have in it. Therefore, you may be able to draw on your home’s value to finance your remodel. Financing is a great way to upgrade your home right away, but keep in mind that the housing market fluctuates. If you finance a remodel with your home’s equity and your neighborhood’s home values drop significantly, you could end up owing way more than your home is worth. The loan officers at your bank can explain your options in more detail. 

Cut costs where you can.

Let’s use a kitchen remodel as an example. New cabinets can cost a small fortune. If yours are structurally solid, you can probably re-use them. Even better, if you like your cabinet layout, you can simply paint the cabinets, change out the faces, or update knobs and handles with new cabinet hardware for a new look. You can also cut costs by buying second hand items. I’ve seen lots of perfectly good cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, tubs, doors, windows, and even appliances at garage sales and flea markets for next to nothing. I love to reuse and repurpose them!

Consider DIY.

If you’re handy, there are a lot of things you can do yourself. I wouldn’t suggest gutting a room and starting from scratch, but you really can do a lot of smaller projects on a weekend to save some money. Here are a few of my tutorials:

Exterior Home Makeover: How To Improve Your Street View

Cheap Bathroom Makeover: How to Prep Your Outdated Vanity Like a Pro

Kitchen Makeover (As Seen on The List)

Easy Kitchen Updates You Can Do This Weekend

How to Update Your Bathroom Vanity in 5 Easy Steps

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