Make the Most of Your Home's Equity
With warmer weather approaching, many homeowners are thinking of making household improvements. While cost is a major point of contention for most homeowners, renovating can be intimidating when deciding on where to start. Fortunately, there are ways to cut costs and even finance your remodel.
Avoid a complete remodel
It’s tempting to want to go all out once you’ve decided to remodel, but unless structural damage demands that an area be completely gutted, there’s rarely a reason to start from scratch. Instead of knocking down walls and hallways, try to envision the outdated area with a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, and some minor décor changes.
Is your kitchen a total blast from the past? Instead of giving it an overhaul, consider replacing the drawer handles and knobs, staining the cabinets, and refacing the moldings. Perfecting old cabinets can be substantially less expensive than putting in brand new ones.
Shop around for a contractor
Choosing a contractor is not a decision to take lightly. You want to find someone honest, professional, and reliable – and willing to give you a decent price.
Don’t hire anyone on the spot; look at three or more different contractors before making your decision. Ask for references and meet with each contractor in person to get a feel for their character and professional conduct. Take note of whether they show up on time and their willingness to answer questions. Be sure to ask your prospective contractor if they generally stick to their schedules or tend to fall behind. In this business, time is money, and a delay in a project’s completion can end up costing you.
Finally, be sure to sign a detailed contract before making any final decisions. The contract should stipulate the final cost and estimated timeframe for the project.
Consider long–term costs and benefits
You don’t have to choose the most expensive option for every remodeling decision, but it often makes sense to pay more upfront if it will save you money down the line.
For example, if you’re installing clapboard siding, you’ll save in the long run by paying more for pre-primed and pre-painted boards. Using the more expensive prefinished claps means you’ll need half as many paint jobs in the future.
Pick decent but midgrade materials
Choosing the cheapest materials usually ends up costing more in the future; however, that doesn’t mean go with the most lavish and expensive materials either. In general, it’s usually best to go with the midgrade option whenever possible.
One significant area you’ll see this at play is with carpeting. Basic olefin and polyester carpeting will run you $1 to $2 per square foot, while wool costs upward of $9 to $11 per square foot.
Bring in natural light without windows
Looking to add a splash of sunshine in your kitchen? Don’t cut that gigantic hole in the side of your house just yet! Adding windows is a major deal and there are other, less expensive ways of bringing sunlight into your home.
Instead, consider installing a “light tube.” This genius contraption slips between the rafters on your roof and works to funnel sunshine down and into the living space below.
Lend a hand
You don’t have to be super-handy to help out and save money at the same time. You can easily do some of the demolition work yourself, paint some walls, or even sand the walls to prep them for painting. If you feel you’re not handy enough to jump in, lend a hand with the cleanup at the end of a project. Why pay a cleanup crew to sweep up sawdust when you can handle a broom just fine on your own?
Increase efficiency, not size
If you feel like your kitchen is too cramped and you need to push out some walls to make it work, think again. You can easily reorganize your kitchen for maximum efficiency while also saving money.
Replace large, clumsy shelves with pullout drawers that are equipped with racks for easy, aesthetic storage space. Upgrade your cabinets with lazy susans, dividers, pullout trays and more. Consider hiring a professional organizer to show you how to maximize the space you’ve got; the organizer’s fee and the money you’ll spend on the specialized cabinets will still fall way below the cost of an expansion.
However you choose to go about your renovations, Texans is here for you every step of the way. Visit the Texans Home Equity page, or call us at 972.348.2000, to learn about our Home Equity loans and how we can make your home work for you.