Posted By .

The real estate market is on the upswing. Great news for sellers! Unfortunately, for lots of people looking to buy, it’s becoming extremely difficult to find that perfect house whilst staying in line with their budget. Many people are tabling the idea all together. Others are deciding to purchase those not-so-perfect homes and go the renovation route instead. Now, renovating can be costly for sure. If you’re budget conscious (who isn’t!), it’s important to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.

Here are the top questions to ask yourself before moving forward with sprucing up your home:

Will the renovation add value to my property?

If you’re like most people, the list of things you’d like to fix up is long and the dollars you’re able to spend are limited. The biggest determinant of where you should spend your renovation bucks is your potential return on investment. Translation? Figure out if you’ll be able to recoup your costs down the road. Compare your home to the neighborhood average. Find similar houses and see what they’re worth these days. Zillow is a solid place to start. Then see how your home stacks up. Take adding a second bathroom for example. Do most of the other homes like yours have two baths already? If the answer is yes, it’s likely that adding a second will make your home more competitive in the market. If you’re living in a single bath-type neighborhood, adding another bathroom may not make your house as valuable as you hope come selling time.

Want to dive a little deeper? Take a look at these articles for more info on the best and worst remodeling projects as far as return on investment goes.

Will I save money on my energy bills?

Adding home value and saving some bucks every month is a win-win for sure. Check out this report to find out the lowdown on common money-saving energy renovations. While these to-do items may not add a whole lot to your home’s curb appeal, they can help you save a bunch on those pesky monthly energy bills.

Should I go the DIY route?

You can save a lot of money if you’re a do-it-yourselfer. Just by doing your own demo and cleanup, you’re looking at saving around $200 to $300 per day alone. A solid rule of thumb is to know your skills. YouTube can only get you so far! Be mindful that the renovation may end up messy if you don’t dedicate enough time and effort to finish the job. The last thing you want is to get in over your head and be forced to hire a professional to clean up a disaster. If you’re super handy, your remodel could turn out great. Even those of us who aren’t DIY pros can take on some smaller projects. You’d be surprised what a fresh coat of paint can do to a place. Install some lightly used or recycled fixtures and materials yourself, and you have some major cost savings already.

What about hiring a contractor?

If you decide to take on a major project, hiring a contractor is the way to go. Start by getting multiple estimates. Go over the numbers thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. You’ll probably be given a very wide range of costs initially. Work to narrow it down beforehand so you can be confident that you’ll stay within budget. If you don’t have the cash on hand, contractors may be willing to put you on an installment plan.

Money saving tip! Hold off on signing a contract until off-peak season. Contractors are at their busiest from April to September, which means the price of your renovation should be lower in the wintertime as their business slows down.


Renovating a home can be a tall task. Keep in mind that you don’t need to get it all taken care of at once. Be honest with yourself about your budget constraints and choose your to-do’s wisely. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to getting your home in tip-top shape.