Select A Department:

Courses in this Department

How Ready Are You to Buy a Home?

Determining Your Dream Home and Finding It!

Factory Built Homes Are Worth a Look

Purchase Manufactured Homes with FHA Loan

How to Buy a Foreclosed Home

Pros and Cons of Corner Lots

Know the Neighborhood Before You Buy

Tune in to an Open House on the Radio

Finding a Qualified Broker or Agent

Shopping for a Loan and Choosing a Lender

How to Improve Your Credit

How to Survive the Loan Application Process

Making an Offer and Signing Contracts

Cancel Your Contract in 3 Days

Understanding the Closing/Settlement Process

Choosing Home Inspection and Settlement Professionals

Double Check Your New Home - The Walkthrough

Know Your Consumer Rights

Seniors Have Many Housing Opportunities

Preparing for the Big Day -- Relocating Moving

Make Your Home Your Castle - Cost Effective Redecorating Ideas


Ways to Trim Remodeling Costs

Without trimming quality.

The Cost

Remodeling is expensive. But that doesn't mean you can't trim excess costs out of your plan and remodel your kitchen or bath on a limited budget.

You just have to know where to trim and where not to, such as on structural items or on your contractor.

Saving Money

When to save and when not to.

Everyone wants to save money. Unfortunately, it is not always a wise decision to base decisions on cost alone. If you select an inferior product because it is cheaper, you may end up needing to replace it within a short time period which will cost you more in the long run. It is far better to determine the durability of the product (its life span) and divide by the cost. This will show you how much the product is costing you over time, not only in the initial days of the project.

The Lowball Bid

You may want to avoid it!

Another place to be careful cutting costs is when selecting your contractor. The low-ball bid may be a sign of poor workmanship, poor business practices or of a potential problem. Your project's success will be directly linked to the skill and experience of your contractor. Take time to interview contractors and their former clients to determine who will be the best choice based on the work, not price. You will be happier in the end. Another benefit of hiring a skilled professional is the experience he or she will bring to the project. A professional contractor can make recommendations for less-costly alternatives which will accomplish your goals for remodeling. This expertise is part of what you will be paying for.

Where to Cut Costs...

..without the worry.

In your product selection. The products you choose will determine the bulk of your budget. If you lean toward solid surface counters and professional ranges for your kitchen, you will not be considering a thrifty remodel. However, if you just want a new counter because the old one is stained and you want a new oven because you hate the color of your old one, you can save money.

You can save even more if you are aware of how labor intensive certain projects are. Even if the material itself costs the same, the installation fee could push you over budget. Installing a custom pattern in your tile floor will automatically cost more than using the same tile throughout the room. And tile of any kind will cost more than installing laminate or vinyl flooring. Considering the labor requirements before you select a particular product, is an easy way to trim costs.

Hints About Your Budget

Look at your needs.

One of the best ways to approach a budget remodel is to determine your needs. Why do you want to remodel? What are you hoping to accomplish? This will show you whether you need structural changes or merely a facelift.

Structural changes are any modification to a room that alters the existing structure. If you plan on bumping out a wall or adding a room, you are considering a structural change. Even moving a wall or adding a skylight over your tub is considered structural.

Facelifts, on the other hand, are cosmetic changes that alter the appearance of the room without involving the structure underneath. The ceilings are not raised. The walls do not move. This is the least expensive choice when remodeling the look of a room. While this may sound more like decorating than remodeling, you may be surprised what you can do without major demolition that will require the assistance of a professional.

Where Can You Get More Help?

Since remodeling can be expensive, take advantage of all the resources you can. You can get a contract and contractor review for a nominal fee from There are other consumer advocacy groups that can also offer some assistance and help.

Let's Take a Look at Some Pitfalls Now:

1. Not having a plan for your remodeling and being organized can mean lots of wasted time and money. Not something you are going to want to do.

2. Not creating a realistic budget based on your current financial situation with the new bills in place. Then not reserving at least 10% for a contingency fund.

3. Not remodeling your home with your future in mind. You should keep your improvements in line with the length of time you expect to stay in the home.

4. Not prioritizing your budget. This could mean you spend more than anticipated when you realize that you have some items that could have waited and need to spend more for things you haven't purchased yet but need desperately. Prioritize first, then buy.

5. Jumping into a budget and remodeling project before you know how big your monthly bills really will be. This could catch you off guard financially and cause a strain.

6. Thinking you are handier than you really are. This could mean a do-it-yourself job gone bad. Unfortunately, many professionals won't take on a do-it-yourself job that needs help. Be sure you can complete the job before you begin.

7. Trying to electrical work yourself or climbing on top of a steep roof for some repair. Safety first. There is no reason to take these jobs on yourself and risk harm or injury.

8. Not considering small or superficial changes for your home first. The small details can make a huge difference. You don't always have to go big to get a significant change. You don't always have to be conservative either. Be bold if you want to.

9. Hiring a contractor on price instead of quality. Be sure to check around and ask lots of questions. You need to be careful hiring contractors. Be sure you are gettingthe best deal with the best quality.

10. Not checking out the contractor closely enough. If you don't know how to,consider hiring a service, such as Smart Consumer Services, to do it for you.

11. Not knowing what the red flags to avoid are when hiring a contractor. Be sure you know these and are prepared to walk away before signing the contract or within three days after (if the contract was signed somewhere other than the contractor's office).

It's time for a quick quiz before you exit the course. After you've taken it, be sure to review the sections of the course related to your wrong answers!

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