Let’s be real—the prices for a lot of things that are both necessary and unnecessary are hiking up to a ridiculous degree, and a lot of people have a bit more weight on their shoulders knowing they have to work harder to keep themselves afloat. That’s why saving tips and other methods to cut costs are required now more than ever, as one wrong purchase or investment could set you back months and leave you with a little nagging voice in your head worried about your budget.
This extends to your construction costs too, whether you’re building a home, repairing a roof, remodeling, or performing another important project. Of course, while you’re already working so hard, you’d want to have high-quality building materials without costing you an arm or a leg. You could always rely on your building contractors, but that won’t always cut it, as they may just be out to get your wallet.
So, for your sake, your family’s sake, and your wallet’s sake, we’d like to help you with a few tips to help you keep your wallet fat without skimping on high-quality building materials. After all, constantly investing in low-quality materials is just a way to keep your budget in the negatives.
Keeping Costs Low
The act of keeping your budget stable throughout any construction process such as a complicated repair, a lengthy rebuild, or even replacement is a test of vigilance—as well as restraint—for the homeowner. Even when you’re at your most meticulous with your accounting, you can sometimes be met with a sudden roadblock expense that tosses a wrench in your plans. By taking the time to ready a contingency fund with at least 10 percent of your overall budget, you can mitigate the financial strain of those nasty surprises.
To those with a lot of experience in this sort of planning, this can seem incredibly obvious, but when it comes to building a new home, there are many decisions that must be made before construction begins—whether it’s about design or the finish of your interiors. This is especially true if you design the home yourself. Without a clear plan involving everything you need, from materials to scheduling, you may find yourself making adjustments on a whim that could knock your budget off of your intended plan. According to The Money Pit podcast host Tom Kraeutler, “Changes can be very expensive and time-consuming.”
Michael DiMartino, the senior vice president of installations for Power Home Remodeling, strained the importance of a long and careful game when you’re finalizing your plans for construction. “It’s important to have a clear understanding of your end goal before you begin, otherwise what happens is that people jump in with both feet without having thought through all the steps,” he says.
Where and How to Start
Start easy with something as simple as your end goal cemented into your plan. From there, you can choose how to begin according to your vision with your budget in consideration. You may also consult your building contractor with this, asking for their take on the matter, but be careful not to always place their answer above yours, as they might be targeting your budget while you’re trying to protect it.
Don’t be afraid to enforce your plan during the construction or repair process, as it’ll act as a leash that’ll maintain the course of your budget to prevent it from going off of your plans.
Another step you can take is to use one of several apps and different software available to help you keep surveillance over your funds during material and labor costs, since construction management software was made with the sole purpose of organizing your budget to help you stay on your plan.
Between keeping track of your funds as well as the schedules throughout your repair or construction project, you should also get real-time updates on the progress of the work being done, helping you be aware of any delays.
Be wary about the amount of electricity used throughout the construction, as the process can weaken the thermal and energy integrity of your home.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways to help with this sort of predicament—for example, you can try something as simple as LED lightbulbs replacing traditional bulbs, or insulation to reduce the heat-loss within the building. There’s also the alternative of an inverter generator in place of a conventional generator, which is useful for cutting back on the use of propane as fuel and thus saving you from additional construction costs without sacrificing the integrity of the construction being built.
Be mindful of the quality, but it’s not a bad idea to rely on “green” building practices, too. These typically involve the use of sustainable materials and energy-efficient systems, and the goal of this approach is to utilize money-saving practices that also maintain cleanliness and a sustainable, eco-friendly business. Just remember to be sure that the quality of the materials is up to your standards.
If you’re ever concerned about the standard of materials your building contractor is using for construction or repair, or if you’re afraid they’ll cut corners, consider establishing some non-negotiables. Priorities, Rules, Don’ts; things that keep the scope of possibilities down to a minimum, to ensure nothing’s going to overshoot the budget.
Down to style, function, and materials, keep ahold of a “wish” list that is kept within the reasonable domain of your budget. With this list always at the ready, you and your building contractors will know what aspects of the construction you want to be more specific about—for example, what qualities you’re looking for that wouldn’t be harmed if you were to cut corners on (if necessary) to allow for a splurge in non-negotiable categories.
But, of course, this requires you to work with the right professionals that have the experience under their belt to help with the non-negotiables. When we say “right,”’ we’re referring to those honest, passionate contractors that intend to help you pull through with your plan while sticking to it.
From your architect to your plumber, hire professionals who respect your intentions and plans as the homeowner with no catch. This is a surefire way to get everyone on the same page when it comes to your desired output. Besides—with less snags brought about by miscommunication and disagreement, the less chances of any unnecessary costs!
Unfortunately, a lot of architects and other professionals speak in a language that many of the average person doesn’t understand properly, and things can get lost in translation. Therefore, it’s important that everyone involved in the project understands the entire approach so it can be completed in a timely, affordable manner.
Keep in mind that when you’re working with a team of professionals, you’ll need to be as communicative as possible—and that means listening to them, too, since you’re no one-man army. Checking in with each phase of the repair or construction will save you from any surprises that can throw your plans wildly off course or alter your schedule.
You may have noticed that a good chunk of these tips were suggesting more communication and encouraged careful selection of the people you work with; and it’s for good reason. Materials and methods aren’t always going to save you from a steep price—the building contractors themselves have a heavier hand in the budget than you may think.
So, be communicative with your contractors, and pick your employees wisely. The people you work with span more than half of the reason you get a nice deal on your construction, so always keep that in mind.