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Ways to Save Money on Remodeling Your House

Doing Things Yourself is the Best Way to Save Money on Home Remodeling

Construction costs are high.  Contractor labor rates are high.  Material prices are high.  It takes a lot of time and work to find and hire a contractor.  With our advice, hopefully you can find some ways to lower your construction and remodeling costs.

Ways to Lower Your Remodeling Costs

  • DIY! Yes, do it yourself. Find a contractor that will work with you to achieve your goals of reducing costs. You don't have to do the whole project yourself, but you can often do a lot of the prep work. You may not know how to install flooring, tile and carpet, but I bet you can figure out how to remove it. We did a recent remodel and I was able to remove all carpet, drywall, cabinets, siding, old appliances and even bathroom fixtures. It took many hours of work, but each hour saved me around $100.
  • One way to defer a major portion of the remodeling expense is to reuse your existing refrigerator, stove and dishwasher as long as they have been kept in good working order. Unless you eventually plan to go with appliances that are non standard or different sized from your existing ones, just cleaning them up may be enough. Otherwise they do make paints specifically for appliances or you may be able to purchase a different trim kit in order to freshen the look.
  • Another large cost of construction is debris removal.  Dumpster charges can easily be over $1,000.  Save on this cost by borrowing or renting a trailer or uhaul and taking it to a landfill yourself.
  • You can give old windows, doors, cabinets, flooring and appliances to a local charity store such as ReStore.  Not only will they come and pick it up for you, but you're donation is tax deductible.
  • Work with your contractor to pick out materials.  For example, when we wanted new hardwood floors, we looked at Home Depot and several flooring stores.  The prices were all around $6-12 per square foot, but then we looked at floorsforless and lumber liquidators and found the same flooring for less than half the price.  Furthermore, we picked up the flooring and delivered it to the site for extra savings.
  • Buy the materials yourself.  Even if you are using a contractor, they would likely prefer that you buy the materials (less risk for them).  Use your credit card with the best points and you'll earn enough points to reward yourself.  For example, we bought and delivered hard wood flooring ourselves and earned enough points to get a $50 Home Depot gift card, which paid for the underlayment for the flooring.
  • When it comes to large, specialty tools, it is often cheaper to rent the tools you need than to buy them.  Unless you plan to remodel for a living or flip several houses, renting is usually more economical.
  • Find lower cost help.  Most contractors are licensed, carry insurance, and have high labor rates.  However, if you are comfortable working with a handyman, or someone working on the side, you can save a lot of money.  We often ask around for referrals and check craigslist for people that desperately need work and have experience doing what you need done.
  • Need to save on landscaping.  Have a landscaping company drop off the soil, mulch or rocks and then distribute it yourself.  Hire a landscape designer for a few hours to pick the plants, flowers and shrubs to plant and to get your plan together, but plant them yourself.
  • Need a tree taken down?  If there are any nearby power lines, call your electric company and they are often willing to cut it down for you for free (we used this three times over the past 2 years).
  • Want to save more money?  Visit our resource center on how to save money.

See Also:  Money Saving Ideas