Cutting Renovation Costs without Cutting Quality

As you probably know, it's easy to lower the costs of a renovation. Just hire an inexpensive, fly-by-night contractor — and hope for the best!


Chances are, you won't want to take that risk. So how do you ensure you get quality work while keeping your budget in check?


Here are some tips:


• Get estimates from at least three contractors. Often prices can vary widely, even amongst contractors with similar reputations and experience.


• Narrow the project focus. If you're getting a bathroom renovated, for example, decide whether you need the contractor to paint the new walls. Can you do that yourself?


• Shop around for the building materials. Yes, contractors often have access to wholesale prices. Still, you might be able to find a bathtub and vanity at a lower cost or at least avoid any markup the contractor may charge.


• Negotiate. Sometimes a contractor is willing to lower the price for concessions, such as quick payments or more time to complete the job.


• Schedule the renovation during a low-demand season. For example, deck contractors charge more in the spring than the fall. It's supply and demand. More people want their decks done in the spring.


Keep in mind that spending a little more for a skilled and reputable contractor can save you money in the long run. The renovation will have fewer, if any, "issues" (that may require an expensive fix) and will last longer.

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