I’m really excited to partner with Chase, which is helping to make the homebuying experience easier during this busy homebuying season.
Upgrading your home can make it far more comfortable to live in, and can often improve your home's value over time as well. While upgrades are exciting, they can also be expensive!
More and more Americans are looking to remodel, as they’re more optimistic about the value of their homes. In fact,Chase just released a survey that found 66% of home owners believed that their home would increase in value in the next 5 years (which is interesting considering how high home prices are currently, particularly in Miami, Denver and Orlando).
Many of those homeowners (38%) have used or are considering using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) in the next 5 years, the majority of those (58%) plan to use it for home improvements. You can see more information from that survey here.
We pay for our home remodeling projects with cash. We set aside money every month to do home improvements, whether that be new bedding or a kitchen overhaul. It saves us on credit card interest and keeps us under budget.
You can use a HELOC or set aside cash to pay for your remodel, but either way you can save money if you're willing to do a little pre-planning. Typically, you can save about 50% on most home projects by eliminating the professionals and doing it yourself.
There are 3 steps you need to take in order to save on upgrades.
Decide if you have the time to DIY.
There's a trade off here. You need to have time available to do the projects and a basic level of skill. Places like Home Depot and Lowes will often have free classes on basic DIY skills like tiling and painting. You can often rent equipment from them as well.
Decide if you have the skill to DIY.
As a general rule, anything related to electricity, knocking down walls (because of the risk that it’s load bearing or has electric/plumbing behind it), plumbing, gas lines (or gas appliances) and removal of anything that's toxic (like mold, asbestos, lead paint) should only be done by a professional.
While those are usually automatically off-limits, there are many other projects that just aren’t a good fit for DIY, either due to safety, inconvenience or skill.
But the savings of DIY are pretty substantial and shouldn’t be taken lightly without at least considering how you could do it yourself.
Research the project.
You need to do your research to figure out what your project involves and any potential safety hazards. Start your search on Google, but we’ve also found that a quick shout out on Facebook will almost always get a response from a friend who actually is professional and can give you some quick guidance.
Then you need to determine the potential savings. Two projects that we’ve recently priced out are painting and replacing windows.
We found that if you hire a pro to paint (using a 2,500 square foot house), you can expect to spend about $4,000, but only $2,100 if you paint it yourself. Even the costs of replacing drafty windows are cut in half from $550/window to $250/window.
But if you get into larger projects, like kitchen and bathroom remodeling, you can be talking about saving $10,000 or more by doing it yourself!
There are some other things to consider though. With a kitchen remodel, you won't have access to the kitchen while it’s being remodeled. That could last for weeks or months depending on your skill level and how much time you have to work (this isn’t a project for a weekend warrior).
That would kill my grocery budget and drive me nuts! But $10,000 is a lot of money to walk away from. It may be worth it to take a class to get some basic skills you need and take a week off of work.
Don’t hesitate to think outside the box. See if a contractor will do the actual labor for you, but you supply parts if you can get them at a discount. You can typically save about 20% by doing that or hiring a friend with the skills you need to help you with the labor. This will usually run more than DIY, but less than hiring a professional for the entire project.
Just a little bit of preplanning and research can save you several thousand dollars when it comes to remodeling.
What would you love to change about your house?
For homebuying tools and tips, and to learn more about the Chase survey results, visit chase.com/homebuyers.