Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Kitchen Renovations

Kitchen renovations change your home and add comfort to your daily life, but they also come at a substantial cost. Planning and a detailed budget can help to control these expenses and avoid nightmare kitchen remodeling experiences. You can also proactively alter your thinking about this home renovation project and save money without sacrificing on quality.

Kitchen remodeling projects have four distinct stages—finding a contractor, designing the new kitchen, calculating the cost and finally, the construction process. Each of these steps contain opportunities to save some money, resulting in a valuable, well laid out kitchen renovation tailor-made for your family.

Save Money While Finding a Contractor

Hiring a general contractor for your kitchen renovations takes time. Start this process well before the project begins and be prepared to wait it out for weeks or even months. Remember that the quality of your remodel depends on a contractor's skills, and skilled contractors tend to be the busiest companies in town.

Gather recommendations from family and friends. Look for the most recent recommendation, as contractors tend to work with different subcontractors and suppliers over the course of business. Find a company that continues to satisfy their customers, not necessarily the contractor that completed your grandma's renovation back in the 90's.

Check references. This step may seem pointless, but countless homeowners avoid costly mistakes and expensive repairs by uncovering hidden details about potential contractors while checking references. Contact the most recent customers and go over this list of essential questions:

  • How did the general contractor perform over all? Were they prompt and did they adequately supervise the subcontractors? Did they maintain a high level of communication and integrity throughout the project?
  • Did your project remain close to the original budget? Were any unauthorized changes or substitutions made over the course of the renovation?
  • Did the contractor and any subcontractors keep your home clean and safe?
  • Were there any issues or problems? If so, how did the contractor handle things and were you left satisfied?
  • How did the contractor handle any service work that came up post-renovation?

Remember to ask about licenses and insurance as well. Licensed contractors must perform to a certain industry standard and are held accountable by an unbiased organization. Insurance protects both you and the contractor; do not work with a contractor that cannot provide proof of current insurance coverage.

Save Money While Designing a New Kitchen

The design of your new kitchen also dictates costs. Strive for an efficient design that leans on the existing structure where possible and minimizes the amount of major work required for a remodel.

For instance, when you want to add natural light consider all of the options before ripping open your walls and moving studs. Think about light tubes, transom windows and narrow sidelights—all elements that allow sunlight in without the need for major framing renovations.

Most general contractors provide access to a kitchen planner or professional designer. This expert will work hard to come up with a unique plan that suits your home and lifestyle, but they need a few specifics from you before hammering this out. These details include:

  • drawing or computer layout of the room with architectural measurements—search for free or inexpensive 3D kitchen designs apps on the web and draw up your own to save money on architect fees
  • your wish list for the new space, including what you most want out of the design—is it more space, more storage, better traffic flow, greater intimacy, improved function, larger appliances, etc.?
  • pictures or web links to the kitchen features, appliances and colors that appeal to you—consider images you find in magazines and online, but remember to snap pictures of real life kitchens you find comfortable and efficient (with the permission of friends and family, of course)

Save Money While Calculating the Cost

Forming an accurate budget helps to control costs and manage expectations. Even if the very thought of a spreadsheet puts you to sleep, make the effort to calculate your budget in order to minimize waste and maximize your home improvement investment.

Start with the current property value including the house and land, then figure out 15 percent of that value. This provides the top end of your kitchen remodeling budget. Take 20 percent of that figure and allocate it toward surprises and unplanned spending associated with your renovation. The balance of your original 15 percent is the budget figure to work with at this point.

For example (assuming your house is worth $300,000)

$300,000 x 15 percent = $45,000 x 20 percent = $9,000

$45,000 total budget - $9,000 for surprises, etc. = $36,000

Give your contractor this figure along with your wish list and the items listed above. Remember that you have a buffer, but this number allows you to create a beautiful new kitchen space that's also in line with your property value.

Arrange for affordable financing as well, or you'll end up spending much more on your kitchen renovations through interest and financing fees. Talk to your bank about borrowing against the equity in house—this can often be done with low interest rates and manageable monthly payments.

Save Money During the Construction Phase

Once you've hired a contractor, handled the design and laid out the budget, there's not much else to do besides wait for the project to be completed, right? Wrong. Homeowners can do many things to save money during the construction phase.

Remember to:

  • communicate regularly with the contractor
  • keep your plan up to date
  • avoid changing your mind unless absolutely necessary
  • fulfill all of your responsibilities on time and accurately
  • follow the established payment schedule and keep the contractor accountable for their end of this deal
  • follow all instructions about function and safety in the renovation space

Changes cost a significant amount of money. Remember how much time you put into planning the kitchen remodeling project, and avoid comparing your space with the neighbors. Stick to your personal wish list.

Saving money on kitchen renovations is entirely possible. Look at each stage and work hard to find ways to maximize your investment and minimize costly mistakes. From hiring the right contractor to designing your space well, and from creating an accurate budget to maintaining your cool during construction, keeping renovation costs under control is simple and straightforward.

Posted by: diana
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