Whether you’re planning to do some remodeling before the holidays, or you want to invest in a fixer-upper you just purchased, make sure you’re getting the best deals on those costly home repairs. Finding reputable contractors in your area is only half the battle. You need an idea of how much materials cost and how much time you are able to invest in DIY projects before having to pay even more to hire someone to fix a botched job.
1. Create a realistic budget. Set aside a few hours to put together a comprehensive list of repairs and the types of materials you might need for each project. If you plan on hiring a contractor, consider the costs of hiring someone based on an hourly rate. Get in touch with a few contractors for a quote and don’t be afraid to ask them for an estimate on the materials. Gathering these vital details and key pieces of information will help you put together a realistic budget for the repair project. Neglecting certain costs now can put you in a bind when you’re ready to start, so try and make your budget as accurate as possible to avoid any major oversights.
2. Shop the home improvement store sales. If you’re not a regular customer at your local home-improvement store, start reviewing store circulars and make a few trips to the store to get a good idea of how much things cost. That first trip to the store can be overwhelming, and you may not find the bargains right away. Take your time to review prices of materials and compare those with online retailers and even your local big-box stores, like Walmart and SuperTarget. Don’t rule out warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, especially if you’re buying items in bulk. You may be able to find some basic materials and supplies at a lower cost after you shop around.
3. Search for manufacturer rebates. If you’re taking care of home repair projects yourself and need to purchase any pricey equipment, check the manufacturer’s website or store flyers for rebates. Some manufacturers offer rebates on certain types of equipment throughout the year or incentives for consumers purchasing environmentally-friendly products and supplies.
4. Use salvaged materials. Find out if there are home rebuilding centers or salvage yards in your area and spend a couple days searching the lots. You might be able to repurpose home furnishings for some of your DIY projects, and tap into your creative side to use raw materials and other pieces in new ways. You’ll find that these materials are much cheaper than buying brand new, and you might even come up with fresh ideas for your next project.
5. Negotiate with contractors. Be prepared to negotiate with contractors you’re considering hiring so that you can get the best deal. Avoid working with contractors who offer a substantially low price for services because you may end up having to hire another contractor to fix their work. Get quotes from at least three or four reputable contractors in your area, then talk to each one about potential discounts or a better deal for the project. Ask them to separate the cost of materials and their labor fees so you know how much you’re actually paying their workmanship. Find out if purchasing materials yourself is an option, as this can offset some of the costs.
6. Find out if you qualify for tax credits. Check the IRS website to see if your home improvement or remodeling project qualifies for a tax credit or a deduction. Estimate your taxes for the year with those factored in and you might find that the cost of that home repair project is reduced dramatically. Check with an accountant if you’re not sure how tax credits and deductions work, or use an online calculator to get an estimated tax savings breakdown. Play with different figures to find out how much those tax savings could offset your total costs of repairs for the year.
For more ideas on how to save on household expenses, check out more articles by Sabah Karimi on WiseBread.com.