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How to get the most out of a small home improvement budget

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at 7:21:57 PM

The average cost of home improvement projects is up slightly in 2015, though substantially lower than it was five years ago. With consumers more willing to spend than they have been recently, but sticking to a low budget relative to 2010, homeowners often have to be smart and creative when planning their home improvements. 

In 2015, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that home improvement project spending rose slightly over the prior year, from $4,000 in 2014 to $4,100 this year, according MarketWatch. The tendency toward more affordable projects means that homeowners have to be careful in planning to get the most out of every dollar they spend on remodeling and improvement. A number of projects can be kept within budget with the right contractor, right tools and the right strategy. 

"If you are thinking of selling your home soon, you may want to focus on some of the key areas that buyers look at, namely curb appeal and bathrooms," explained Chris Tibbetts, a title 1 sales representative with Home Loan Investment Bank. "You can accomplish quite a bit of landscaping, painting or even slight bathroom upgrades, like a brand new tub or vanity, for less than $4,100, which would allow you to get a bit more creative or perhaps even leave enough to add a new entry-way door."

However, not all homeowners are thinking of moving soon, and for those who intend to stay in their current house, the focus of their home improvement planning may change. 

"Other projects would include new gutters or perhaps installing new carpets or flooring to help add some new life to your happy home," Tibbetts noted. "If cutting costs is more your priority, then maybe some new insulation to help reduce your heating/cooling costs is the way to go. Another option is a new patio to increase your quality time with your family and improve your overall quality of life."

Tibbetts added that, to stay in budget, it would be smart to run your own credit check, to ensure that you get the most out of the home improvement financing options available to you. Make sure that your credit report is accurate, and fix any errors and collection accounts as soon as you possibly can. This will help you qualify "for lower interest rates and other promotional opportunities offered," Tibbetts concluded.