How to budget for home improvement

If some do-it-yourself or contractor projects are in your future, take a little bit of time now to help save both time and money down the road.

Before you go buying supplies, keep these things in mind:

  1. How will you finance the project? If the project is extensive or expensive, it’s time to calculate whether you can afford it. If you consider loans to fund the project, will the improvement to your home be worth it?
  2. Set your budget and do some research so you know realistic costs.
  3. Decide whether you can tackle the project, or whether you’ll need help. Think about any risks involved and be realistic about your skills. You’ll also want to consider if any expensive tools or equipment will be needed to get the job done right.
  4. If you decide a contractor will be necessary, you’ll need to research to find a quality, licensed professional. You’ll also need to budget that additional expense.
  5. Consider how the project will add value to your home. Does it make sense? Will it help you keep your home’s value in line with other houses in the neighborhood?
  6. Make sure to get all necessary permits. You may have to pay for permits and have your home inspected as work progresses, depending on your local ordinances.
  7. Protect your investment with insurance during and after. Contractors may have insurance, but they may hire subcontractors who don’t. And friends of yours who help you out probably aren’t covered. Make sure your insurance can cover anyone working on your home. And if the improvements add enough value, consider increasing your property insurance.

Home improvements can add comfort, convenience and additional value. A good evaluation now can keep your costs and stress to a minimum down the road. Good luck on your projects!

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