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How to Save Money on Home Improvements

Learn the best practices for cutting costs on your big home projects. From spring cleaning to knocking down walls, we have you covered with tips on how to set a budget, take advantage of tax breaks, and more.

It’s estimated that the average U.S. family spends about $5,000 yearly on home remodeling. So it’s not surprising that one of the main reasons for taking out a personal loan is to cover the cost of home improvements. In this article, we list some suggestions for maximizing your home improvement budget so you can save on renovations, repairs, or on redecorating.

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  • Set a Budget – Decide how much money you can spend and stick to that amount. Remember, you want to be sure to stay below your loan amount. This might be hard because home improvements tend to run over budget. Keep this in mind when requesting a loan and purchasing materials.
  • Shop Around – The Internet has made it easy to compare prices between your favorite stores, so before you even set foot in a shop, you can be prepared for how much you’ll spend. Some websites even show you what your neighborhood store has in stock, which can save you an unnecessary trip to the store. Major retailers usually offer the best deals, but be sure to check out smaller hardware stores and specialty stores too. Look out for thrift stores, salvage yards, or stores like Habitat for Humanity Restore that offer used products at a discounted price.
  • Ask for a Discount – Most shoppers are not used to asking for discounts while shopping. But if you’re going to spend several thousands of dollars in one store, what’s the harm in asking? There could be a promotion or sale that you might not know about. You can even ask to speak to a manager about a discount. They might be willing to offer a price cut if you’re prepared to spend upwards of $5,000 at their store.
  • Sales Tax – Different towns and counties have different sales tax rates. You might save yourself some money simply by driving a few extra miles. Also, check and see if your state offers a “Sales Tax Holiday,” which is one weekend out of the year when you don’t have to pay tax on certain products.
  • DIY (Do It Yourself) – One of the simplest ways to save money on home improvements is to do it yourself. Painting is a skill, but it requires less skill than finished carpentry or cabinetry. So do the painting yourself. Also, demolition requires little skill, just some elbow grease. To save yourself some money, do as much of the work as you can.

These tips should help you get the most out of your personal loan for home improvements and repairs.

Are You Renting?

If you are renting your residence, then you probably should not be making these repairs yourself. You can actually get in trouble (say goodbye to that security deposit!) by fixing or repairing a rented home or apartment on your own, or even through an unapproved contractor.

If you need to make a repair to a rented dwelling, be sure to reach out to your housing manager first. Explain the issue to them, and if it is covered in your lease, then they may have it fixed at no charge to you. Even if you do end up having to pay for the repair, you will still want to make sure it is done in accordance with what you have agreed to with the landlord already.

In the case that your apartment manager approves a big update under the condition that you revert your home back to how it originally was when you move, you need to factor in these costs when you make your decision. Is it really worth it?

Are You the Landlord?

If you are making repairs to a home that you are renting out, make sure that the tenants are on the hook for the repair costs. The lease might require them to pay for any home improvement costs that are a result of a mistake they made. For instance, if you have to send out a plumber to unclog a drain that was broken by your renter, then they might have to pay to have the plumber come out.

Be careful, though. Your renter might argue that the clog was there before they moved in. If it's a first-time clog, then it's probably best to pay for it out of pocket. Repeated instances, though, should be paid for by the renter (assuming such language exists in the rental agreement).

Will the Project Increase the Value of Your Home?

A big home improvement project can be expensive in more ways than one. If you increase the value of your home, you might also have to pay more taxes on your house as well. If you plan on selling the house soon after the improvement, then the increase in property value may help you make more off the sale. But, if you are keeping the house and will have to pay the property tax yourself, you may want to avoid a home improvement project that will significantly increase the value of your home.