As we navigate the unchartered waters of 2020, we’re faced with big decisions about what is an essential undertaking vs what is non-essential. Home Renovations can fall under both these categories, and as such, there’s a lot to consider. And so I was pleased when Rachel Burrel, our guest blogger, approached me to offer my readers key topic considerations to help pave the way forward. I believe you will find it to be most helpful.
Rachel Burris is a personal finance blogger covering topics such as home buying and the home improvement process. She is passionate about helping homeowners achieve both their financial and personal goals – especially during these uncertain times.
In the face of a crisis, there can be a lot of uncertainty regarding your finances. As your budget tightens, unnecessary expenses like travel and going out to eat are always the first to go. However, it’s important to understand the value of continuing to invest in your property, as it can add comfort to your family, lower utility costs, and boost home value.
Whether you’re in the middle of a renovation or you’ve been preparing for a project for months, there’s no need to panic. A crisis doesn’t have to put a halt on your plans. In fact, it may present a great opportunity to invest more time, money, and energy in your home. Here‘s how you can keep renovating, even amid a financial crisis:
Focus on Low-Cost and Essential Projects
Given the uncertainty of the times, it’s okay if you need to put larger projects on hold, especially if you don’t have the financial means to take them on. But, while you can delay projects like updating your perfectly functional kitchen, refusing to upgrade a faulty HVAC system could make living conditions unpleasant or even dangerous. That’s why it’s crucial that you prioritize essential projects first.
You can also still continue with smaller renovations by focusing on low-cost projects and by completing renovations on your own. Simple projects like painting, refacing cabinets, and updating tiling are relatively inexpensive and require less skill than a full-fledged remodel would take. And, since most of the costs you incur during renovations are associated with contractors and labor hours, you can save money by taking on some of the easier projects yourself.
Work With Your Contractor
Normally, contractors are busy working on multiple projects and have less flexibility when it comes to working with your specific timeline. However, they may be searching for business as homeowners are more hesitant to renovate during financial emergencies. This could play in your favor as contractors have more flexibility and the ability to accommodate your project. During economic hardships, they may also offer discounts, which could help lower renovation costs.
However, some local mandates and shelter-in-place orders forbid contractors to work on specific projects during crises. If you’re in the midst of a renovation when a crisis occurs, you should touch base with your contractor to review your contract terms and determine a plan of action should you need to suspend your project.
Look For Deals
If you have already broken ground on your project, you probably already have the necessary fittings to carry on with your project. However, if you’re still in need of supplies, you may be able to save some money by buying discounted materials and equipment. In a financial slump, many retailers lower the cost of their products for quicker sales, meaning you could stand to save a lot.
During a crisis, building materials like copper, brick, and concrete are usually significantly cheaper, so be sure to take advantage of any deals you find. Keep in mind that you may experience some backlog depending on where you purchase your materials, but overall, your total savings should outweigh the costs.
Leverage Market Conditions
Interest rates tend to drop to all-time lows when the economy falters, which could mean more favorable terms if you decide to take out a personal loan or tap into your home equity. For instance, you could secure a low-interest equity loan that you can put toward an emergency fund, consolidating debt, or paying for any previously planned home renovations. Taking out a loan would grant you access to funds when you need them most while also giving you the opportunity to pay them back over time.
It’s understandable if you’re reluctant to take on additional debt when the economy is unstable. Should your income change or an unanticipated expense arise during a crisis, you might not want to commit to hefty loan terms or put yourself in a situation that would leave you in a bad financial position. That’s why you should discuss your options with a financial advisor before making any decisions.
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Renovations typically don’t go exactly to plan, so don’t stress too much if you need to make some adjustments during a crisis. You may experience some delays in the process, but that is to be expected! When renovating during troubled times, be sure to keep these tips in mind so you can keep the ball rolling on your project.
By Rachel Burris, Guest Contributor: Rachel Burris is a personal finance blogger covering topics such as home buying and the home improvement process. She is passionate about helping homeowners achieve both their financial and personal goals- especially during these uncertain times.