Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Do | Home Renovations
Q: We bought our first home about 5 years ago. Our money was tight initially, but we’ve been careful and now feel good about managing all of our expenses, as well as planning for our future. Part of our plans include some home improvement and renovation projects; a new shed, closing in the carport, new flooring on the main floor, furniture for the family room and changing the landscaping. The possibilities are endless, but our money isn’t. Can you offer some suggestions to help us stay on track with our goals?
A: Summer sunshine can bring out the best in us. When we’re in a good mood and our energy level increases, it feels like the sky’s the limit for what we can accomplish. However, make sure that your intentions aren’t bigger than your resources.
Prioritize Your Goals
To decide where to start with your home renovations, consider what your long term goals are. Are you looking to make improvements to your home for resale value and curb appeal, or are you planning to enjoy the fruits of your labour yourself? Some projects are more seasonal than others, e.g. landscaping versus replacing flooring indoors, while shopping for furniture might mean waiting for the right sale. Ultimately, prioritize your projects according to your overall goals.
Establish a Budget Before You Start
Once you know which project you want to tackle first, establish your budget before you start. Obtain quotes for labour and / or materials. Shop around to get additional pricing and information and consider if you can do some of the work yourself. Be sure to add in a contingency fund of at least 10% just in case you encounter an unexpected complication.
Re-evaluate Your Plans if Need Be
Home improvements always seem to take more time and money than we anticipate. Once you know what the project will cost you, determine if your savings will cover it or if you need to factor borrowing costs into the budget. If you decide that this particular project will cost too much right now, go back to your list and think about if it makes sense to complete another project instead.
Finish What You Start
Nothing is worse than running out of money and enthusiasm in the midst of several half-done projects, so planning properly before you start will help keep you on track. Stick to only doing what you can reasonably get done with the time and money you’ve got available. Then, as you sit back and enjoy your success, you can use what you learned to plan your next home improvement or home renovation project.