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Home Improvement on a Budget: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Home Improvement on a Budget NJ ArchitectWith all the demands of daily life, attempting a home improvement project is a full commitment – both mentally and financially. So, how do you design an addition for your growing family while on a limited budget? There are a few options that can be explored to keep your project within limits, and as you’ll see, we recommend some options more strongly than others.

The Good: Reduce the Scope of Work

When it comes to reducing cost of construction, reducing square footage is the name of the game. Analyze the shortcomings of your current floor plan, so you can prioritize which square footage is most valuable to your family. Keep in mind bathrooms and kitchens are generally the most expensive rooms in a residence due to the connection with plumbing systems, and the value of finish materials. An architect can help downsize your project scope in terms of square footage, but can also enhance your smaller environment but designing more efficient circulation routes, better square footage allocation, and finish options that will create a feeling of spacious. Speaking of spaciousness, reference our post to see if changing your floor plan concept will get to the real root of your problem.

The Bad: Hiring a low cost contractor

In most residential projects, material costs will remain constant, and the labor cost is what will fluctuate. This price fluctuation will physically manifest itself in the quality of craftsmanship. This is a strong point to consider when awarding your project bid to a contractor. You want to ensure the quality of work you desire is the quality you will be receiving. Ask to see a contractor’s portfolio of built work. After all, you don’t want to think you’re getting a great deal, and then discover the materials being used and the methods of installation are not on par with your requirements.

Make sure to properly vet all the prospective contractors before awarding your project with the help of our contractor reference questionnaire.

The Ugly: Phase the Project

Phasing a project allows you to complete the work in different stages over the course of your specified timeline. You may decide to build the skeleton of your addition for three bedrooms, and put the infrastructure in place for a future bathroom, but only finish one of the bedrooms. With the walls framed and the plumbing connects present, you can save money and finish the project when you are ready, or your family demand is pressing. We call this “the ugly option” because it is never pleasant to live through a renovation, and with a phased project, your home may seem “unfinished” for long periods of time. Phased projects are also a bit tricky, as there is the potential that you may be losing money. For instance, certain costs may be incurred twice, such as obtaining a permit, and some construction efficiencies are lost by having to call tradespeople back an additional time to complete their work.

Please feel free to add thoughts in the comment section below!