How to Avoid Overruns When Home Improvement Projects Go Over Budget

Home improvement

Home improvement is a huge industry with many companies competing for homeowners’ dollars. But many projects go over budget, and sometimes contractors slap additional charges on the bill without the homeowner’s knowledge. This can be costly for both the contractor and the client. To help avoid such overruns, set a clear budget for your project and stick to it, says a recent NerdWallet survey. Moreover, make sure you have a signed contract and a detailed payment schedule. The contract should list the timeline for the work to be completed, and it should specify virtually every detail of the project, including the types or brands of materials. On larger projects, architect or engineer plans may provide detailed descriptions of the project.

Homeowners spent $622 billion on home improvements from 2017 to 2019 — an average of $1,350 per improvement. That’s up from the $522 billion Americans spent over the previous two-year period. But the number of homeowners who hired professional home repair and improvement workers declined. According to our September NerdWallet survey, 3 in 5 homeowners who completed projects since March 1, 2020, did so without professional help.

Some of the surging home improvement categories we spotted in our research include deck construction and fence installation, which each saw an increase of more than 230%. While these are great ways to spend your hard-earned cash, you should only do so if you’re ready to commit the time and energy required.

In addition, before you do any major renovations, talk to a real estate agent about which improvements will boost your home’s resale value. You’ll also want to learn which home improvements aren’t worth your money, such as those that don’t improve the function of the space or don’t appeal to potential buyers.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of regular maintenance. Neglected home repairs can cost you big when they turn into serious problems down the road, such as a rotting roof or termite infestation. Fortunately, there are many easy and affordable fixes to make your house more comfortable and functional:

Ultimately, homeowners renovate their homes for a variety of reasons. Some of the most popular are to make the space feel more like a home (42%), to enjoy their house more (37%), or to fix a safety issue (26%). Whatever your reasons, it’s important to consider how they will affect your home’s future resale price before you take on any major renovations. Otherwise, you could end up living in a showplace that doesn’t truly feel like home. And that’s no way to live!

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