Global inflation and supply chain issues have derailed a lot of people’s post-COVID plans, including renovating or remodeling their homes. The cost of remodeling and renovating has risen partly because there’s a shortage of supplies, so retailers have raised prices on the supplies and materials they do have. Plus, the Federal Reserve Bank has raised interest rates in an effort to slow inflation, meaning home improvement loans cost more. This doesn’t necessarily mean homeowners must put off renovations, but it does mean that sticking to your home reno budget may require more creativity and planning.
How to Keep Inflation From Ruining Your Home Renovation Budget
Here are some strategies for keeping inflation from blowing your home reno budget:
1. Understand Renovation vs Remodel
People use the terms renovation and remodel interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. A renovation is fixing up what’s already there; a remodel is changing what’s there. That may mean expanding a room, or converting a pantry to a breakfast nook. Remodeling is usually more expensive because it is more involved and can include the need for permits, whereas renovations are often smaller projects that you can sometimes DIY. Before getting started with either, it can be smart to budget for the level of transformation you can reasonably afford in this economic climate.
2. Invest Wisely
One thing experts agree on is that the best home renovation or remodel investments are projects that can raise the value of a home at resale. Some of these projects include a kitchen or bathroom makeover, expanding outdoor space, and even just replacing the garage door. SoFi’s home improvement ROI calculator can help you identify some of these home investment opportunities.
3. Finance Carefully
Since you’re investing in your home, especially with the idea of improving its value, it’s smart to look for the right partner to help you strategize how to finance your project. It’s possible your project may be eligible for a home equity loan where you borrow against the value of your home for funds. Another financing option is a personal loan. Unlike the home equity loan, a personal loan for home improvement projects requires no collateral.
4. Have a Plan
Home renovation projects notoriously run over budget. Global supply chain issues are making that even worse. Many projects must happen according to a specific sequence, like receiving a delivery of plumbing supplies and scheduling workers before you gut the bathroom. If something goes wrong with the sequencing, it might mean you lose your workers to another job that’s ready to go, or you have to pay extra to expedite shipping. These hold ups can be expensive. That’s why it’s important to plan meticulously before you begin.
5. Be Flexible
Can’t get the Italian granite you were eyeing for the kitchen counters? What about slate, which can be a fourth of the price and can look just as stunning. Or Sintered Stone? Or steel? Deciding from the beginning to be flexible on the things you can, and uncompromising only on the materials or designs that really matter to you, can save you thousands.
6. Consider High Quality Items
Because there is generally lower demand for slightly higher quality and pricier items, those appliances and materials haven’t risen as much in price . So you might have an opportunity to get something you might have considered out of your price range for about the same as the more standard one.
7. Oversee the Project
The typical contractor fee for most general contractors to oversee renovation projects is 20% of the project , so if you’re planning a $50,000 remodel and you do the contracting yourself, you could save $10,000 right off the bat. But it will be your job to source and schedule the experts you need — plumbers, electricians, etc. — and oversee the work. Just remember: It’s not uncommon to pay to have a job done twice during renovations, so it’s wise to stay on top of workers if you choose this option.
8. Do Something Yourself
Using skills you already have, or picking up a few through online videos and in-person workshops, can save you some time and money. If you decide you can do the job yourself, and it isn’t one that requires permitting and licensing, you may be happy with your results. Doing it yourself does have its risks such as not ending up with the quality you could have by using a professional. On the other hand, if you have some skills, you might do a better job than a mediocre contractor who isn’t as invested in your home as you are.
9. Vet Your Craftsman
Hiring someone who does a poor job or damages your home is a common risk of home renovation projects. Shopping for carpenters, painters, plumbers, and others solely on the basis of price can very easily lead to problems, which can require more time and investment on your part to correct. Choosing a contractor that’s skilled and reliable requires taking the time to look at portfolios, ask questions, and seek recommendations and reviews.
10. Collect a few Bids
It can take more time, but getting bids from several different companies is a smart way to help keep your renovation costs low. Not only does this type of “shopping” give you options for how much you can pay for specific tasks, but it can also give you an idea of how different contractors would approach your project.
11. Shop Wisely
It can be easy to order items online or pick up everything from your local home remodeling store, but high shipping costs and limited in-store options can actually increase your expenditures. If you’re looking to minimize costs, settling for what’s most convenient isn’t likely to help you. Instead, taking the time to shop around thoroughly and think creatively about your renovation plans can help save you a bundle.
12. Price Match
If you find an appliance online that you really love, you may want to try bringing a copy of that ad to your local retailer, and asking them to match the deal. This way you not only save yourself shipping costs, but you also get the best price for the item you prefer.
13. Try Repurposing
Before you spend money replacing what you have, consider transforming your items instead. Perhaps you could refinish or paint your kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Changing the hardware and interior panels are also simpler options that can reflect your style. Sometimes small changes can result in big transformations.
14. Consider Salvaged Materials
You can sometimes save big using salvaged materials. Secondhand shops like Habitat ReStores can sell old kitchen cabinets, flooring, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and furnishings for a fraction of the original sale price. You can even find unused paint, hardware, and art. For additional options, online sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can provide useful, previously used items as well.
15. Be Creative Side
Pinterest can be a great source of budget friendly renovation ideas. You can spend a few hundred dollars on a mason jar light fixture; or you could make your own. How about creating a room divider with used pallets? Necessity is often the mother of invention, and you may discover a creative side you didn’t know you had by looking for creative design solutions.
Inflation and supply chain problems can make home renovations and remodeling on a budget much more challenging, but not impossible. If you choose the best projects for added value; plan and shop for materials and craftspeople with care; and are willing to be creative and flexible, you can wind up investing less money, time and worry.
If your home renovation budget is a tad bit short of your dream, a home improvement loan from SoFi could give you the extra boost you need. With no collateral, no fees and the opportunity for same-day funding, SoFi can help get your project up and running in no time.
Photo credit: iStock/LightFieldStudios
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