Home Improvement Costs: Can Patience Actually Save You Money?
If you're like most, you might be one of the many Americans who plan on making improvements to your home in the coming year. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Americans spend more than $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs.
Is it possible that being patient with your remodeling plans could save you money in the long-run? According to some professionals, the answer is a resounding yes.
Time your home improvements throughout the year to maximize cost savings. Derek Christian of Handyman Connection has a team of contractors who service the greater Cincinnati area, and they've seen what can drive costs up and bring them down. Patience can help you save in the long run while helping you get the look and feel you've always dreamed for your home.
Timing is Everything
It's easy to forget how much the weather can drastically impact everything in our lives. The same is true for contractors, as their business depends on being able to get both interior and exterior work done during ideal conditions. That said, the seasons aren't your enemy when it comes to saving on your home improvement costs.
According to Christian, here are the ideal times of the year to plan specific types of home improvement projects to save the most on costs:
- Kitchens and Baths: "Almost all of these projects have to be completed by Christmas, as no one wants a home under construction when they have guests." Christian's best advice is to get quotes done for kitchens and baths in the winter months so you can have contractors begin work in the spring. This way, you'll avoid the holiday rush and the added stress of relative-related deadlines.
- Roofs: Start shopping around for a roof installation in the winter, but ensure that the actual installation takes place once it's warmer out. Christian says that roofers will be happy to have forward-thinking homeowners line up work for them for the first warm days of spring. Keep in mind that around April 1st, contractors start to raise their prices as they become busier.
- Additions: If you're hoping to include any additions to your home, they should be weatherproofed during the winter months so that they're ready for the spring.
- Outdoor Living Improvements (outdoor kitchens, decks, etc.): "Winter is a great time for projects that require lumber like decks as it's normally cheapest in the winter," says Christian.
- Landscaping: Landscaping projects are best kept for the end of a season. Plants are less expensive and labor will be easier to find.
How to Keep Costs Down Throughout Your Project
Determine which details may shred your seasonal home improvement savings plan. Some may leave you spending more than you would if you'd skipped the season-centric planning.
Christian says the most common reason for escalating home improvement costs is a change in project scope after a project has begun. "Many changes only cost a little extra money up front," he says. "But if you have to go back in to redo previous work, it can cause the price to escalate a great deal."
In order to avoid expensive work done on already completed projects be sure to sit down with your significant other and decide exactly what you want to do before any work begins. Then, meet with your contractor and go over your plans so they're able to lend their expertise and account for any foreseeable problems.
Communication is Essential (and Can Save Money Year-Round)
Speaking of redoing work that's already been completed, Christian closes out his advice with a focus on the importance of communication between homeowners and their contractors. A little conversation can go a long way toward saving money and your sanity.
"Tell your contractor the second you are having second thoughts," he says.
Here are a few suggestions for effective communication with your contractor:
- Ask your contractor for weekly touch-base meetings to review the schedule, discuss changes, etc.
- Bring any concerns, if any, to the contractor's attention. For example, don't wait to speak up if you don't like the finish on custom cabinetry.
- Keep your contractor looped in as you decide to make changes. Scope for add-ins in your budget and timeline. They can present alternatives that can help you stay on track.
From planning in the off-season to working in the best season, you can save significantly on your renovation costs with a little research and a healthy dose of communication. This way, you'll be able to enjoy an open dialogue with your contractor about the vision you have for your home.