The desire to remodel, add- on or just decorate our homes is by almost every homeowner. We spend a lot of time in our homes and want the creature comforts that can be as simple as a room that is painted a special color to a totally update master suite or gourmet kitchen and great room. Whatever our goals, being able to realize them is a challenge. To most homeowners remodeling is a daunting task, full of challenges, pitfalls and obstacles some real and some imaginary. Of these the cost is what scares many of us the most.

The cost of remodeling our homes is one of the most significant obstacles to moving ahead with our plans. Be it a thousand, ten or even a hundred thousand dollars it’s a sizeable amount. In addition to what we have budgeted, most remodeling projects go over the homeowners original budget, which adds to the risk and stress.

It is also close to impossible for the typical homeowners to understand where their money goes when remodeling. Since most of us only remodel once or twice in our lives, and many are not comfortable with money issues to begin with, selecting a budget and managing to the budget during a remodel can be a daunting task.

But it is a task that has a tremendous reward. For most remodeling projects a typical homeowner can save 25% or more during a remodel without ever doing any of the labor themselves. The savings can be even more if you choose to do even a few of the most expensive tasks yourself.

The average household spends about $7,300 per year on home improvements, according to a report by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, but most projects end up costing homeowners far more than the initial estimate. In a 2006 survey by of 5000 homeowners, their remodeling plans cost an average of $100,000 for more than 30% of their homes value. With that much of an investment even reducing the total project costs by a few precent can result in thousands of dollars of savings. And unlike many other opportunities to save money, a lower price tag for a remodel doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality.

Quality and cost are not necessarily linked in a remodel. Just because a part or a service is less expensive doesn’t mean that the quality is better or worse. A good example is a kitchen water faucet. Lets assume the one you pick costs $300 at the local plumbing supply store. If you hire a contractor to do your remodel they can likely buy it for 10 to 25% less than retail price resulting in a cost range $225 to $260, but if you know how you maybe able to buy the same or similar faucet from the same manufacturer for $150! A 50% savings!

Labor in many remodels is a major portion of the cost of the remodel and like the faucet example above, the cost you pay may not reflect the level of quality you will receive. A contractor who gives you a low price and then plans on taking short cuts on the work they do is not a wise way to save, but a contractor who takes pride in their work and will give you a quality result doesn’t necessarily charge more. And the highest price quote you receive for your remodel maybe from a large company that charges a premium because of their expensive sales and marketing effort but then hires inexperienced workers who will give you only average quality workmanship.

Regardless of your budget, less than $5,000 or more than $100,000, if your goal is to minimize the cost of your remodel and still get a high quality and attractive result than 365 Ways to Save on Remodeling is a great tool for you. This book is arranged in three major sections. The first describes the common rooms and where in each is the best place to save with cross references to the specific money saving techniques. The next section is divided into five categories of ways to save: the Design, materials, Who Does the Work, How you pay for the remodel and where to save. Each of these categories are potentials for you to save hundreds and thousands of dollars. The final section is a glossary, a list of places to save and other information.

Regardless of what your inclination is now – do some of the work or none, spend little time as possible on the project or you are happy to spend time shopping to get a deal, take the time to consider the many options laid out in this book, what you might not have considered as possible before maybe your “secret weapon” for saving a bundle when you remodel – so keep and open mind.

Is there a silver bullet to saving on bundle when you remodel? Yes there is. In fact there are 2 great ways for you to save a lot of money during remodel and they are the design of your remodel and who you hire to do the work. These 2 items alone can adjust the cost of your remodel by 50%! That’s right, by following basic design guidelines to minimize the cost of your remodel and by hiring the right people to do the work you can reduce the cost of your $100,000 addition to $50,000 and here’s how.

So many homeowners and for that matter architects don’t fully consider both their goals and what the existing house “is” before jumping into a remodel. Homeowners spend much more than they have to by not using what is already in their home and instead tear off the roof and build expensive foundations to accomplish small changes that could more cost effectively implemented using smart space utilization. This doesn’t mean making the addition smaller, it means using bump outs, not disrupting the existing foundation, or roof when you remodel and reallocating existing space. Details of these ideas and many more are reviewed in chapter 4.

The second “silver bullet” is who you hire to do the work. Not all contractors are equal in regards to the quality of their work or what they charge. To save a lot of money when you remodel spend a lot of time finding the right contractor – someone who does good work, who likes the type and scale of your project and charges a price that you like. The price a contractor charges you for your remodel is influenced by the materials they will buy, and these materials will be about the same cost for all the contractors biding on your job. What will vary between different contractors is their ability to quote accurately, the overhead to run their business and their profit goals. For any specific remodeling project you can get a wide variation in prices from a contractor who precisely knows what the project will take, has a vary low cost business to operate and

Master Suite Addition Contractor A Contractor B
Material cost $15,000 $15,000
Labor they hire $30,000 $35,000
Business Overhead $2,000 $10,000
“just in case” cushion 0 $10,000
Profit $4,700 $35,000
Total quote to you $51,700 $105,000

is comfortable with 10% profit versus a contractor who needs to add a buffer to their quote “just in case”, has a lot of costs to run their business and wants to make 50% profit on your project. As you can see the topic of quality and workmanship didn’t enter into either of these cost equations – it is independent. Just because you pay a contractor more doesn’t necessarily mean you will get better quality or better service.

In the pages to follow we will provide more details of the silver bullets as well as many other ideas to remodel – one of which maybe your silver bullet. Regardless of which techniques and ideas you will use in your remodel – it is important to move ahead with the remodel. Like many adventures in life it is scary and intimidating and it maybe a bit painful and troubling before or during the process, but THE most common feedback I get when I talk to homeowners who remodel – it isn’t we spent too much, or I didn’t like my contractor –its I am glad I did it.

So be glad you “did it” and get started!