Summertime conjures up many images – cook-outs, fireworks, sunsets, fireflies, and home improvements. With warmer and longer days you look around your property to determine what needs to be built, destroyed, or renovated, and this can mean costs of a few dollars to several thousand. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire or your money tree is in full bloom, even the smallest improvement could put a chink in your finances. Here are some tips to prevent your home renovations from resembling the disasters of The Money Pit.
No need to wait for the first cicadas to hatch before deciding on the improvements you want to make. In fact, planning for the next year’s upgrades should be done not long after the pool closes during the previous summer. Though you can’t plan for renovations due to fire, flood, or other natural disasters, having some ideas can start your off on the right path. Writing them down the summer before gives you months to research material and labor costs to find the best deal. When you have best estimates, you can begin to modify your budget to reflect the new expense categories.
Like you would when paying off debt, start with the smaller improvements first and work your way up. For example, simple do-it-yourself landscaping may cost a few hundred dollars while installation of a pool or a kitchen renovation puts costs in the tens of thousands. By completing the small items on your list you free up those funds for the bigger projects, easing your budget and putting you in a financially calmer state of mind.
One at a Time
Homeowners tend to get stressed out during simultaneous improvement projects around their home. Not only does this disrupt the daily routines of them and their family, but it has the potential of becoming a financial burden as unknown expenses crop up. Ease the stress by working on one project at a time. Start in one part of the yard or home rather than tearing up the entire area. This allows you to make the improvement right the first time and gives you time to consider whether the next project is necessary.
First Outside, then Inside
Make your outside improvements first to take advantage of the warmth and extra light of the summer months. In addition, try to do them in the late spring or early summer to avoid some of the hotter days. Switch to your indoor projects when it gets unbearable. One exception to this – start work on indoor renovations first if a hole will be cut into your house for a new room or similar improvement. This prevents you from shivering when the cold fall and winter winds seep through the tarp or wooden frame of the new area.