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How To Set A Realistic Remodeling Budget

By Veronica Smith

Formulating a realistic remodeling budget is one of the first steps you will need to take before embarking on any home remodeling project. You should be taking the overall costs of the renovations you wish to perform into consideration, as well as your overall income and monthly expenses. It is also important to factor in a certain amount of money in addition to what the estimated remodeling costs are, so that you are prepared in case any unexpected circumstances come up as a result of your remodeling efforts.

Figure Out How Much Money You Can Comfortably Spend

Although there might be many different things you wish to do to your home, the main factor to consider is how much you can actually afford. A good formula for doing this is to add together the amount of your normal monthly expenses, plus what you think the monthly payment would be for the project you are considering. Once you have this total, divide it by your gross monthly income. This will give you the debt-to-income ratio for your project, which can be a good way of calculating whether you can actually afford to remodel. Lenders often use this debt-to-income ratio as a way of determining if they will loan you money for remodeling projects.

Calculating a Monthly Payment

Before budgeting for remodeling, you should also calculate how high of a monthly payment you can afford. To do this, you can take your lender's maximum debt-to-income allowance, multiply if by your gross monthly income, and then subtract your overall current monthly expenses. You will be left with the maximum monthly payment that you would be able to afford.

Getting More Value from Your Budget

Once you have an idea of what you will need to spend, determine if you can possibly cut costs by doing some of the work yourself. Hiring a contractor or builder for every step of the project can really add a lot of overall cost, and some of the tasks may be simple enough to do yourself. One additional advantage of doing some of the work yourself is that you might save enough money to allow yourself to include a few luxury items in your remodeling budget that you would not have otherwise been able to afford. Careful shopping for building supplies is another way of saving money. Substituting less expensive materials can also be a good way of minimizing your remodeling budget, while still producing beautiful results. For example, you can save a lot of money when remodeling a kitchen by choosing less expensive cabinets, or by purchasing appliances that are not the absolute top-of-the-line. It is better to save money on the things that aren't that important to you, which will leave you more money to splurge on the renovations that will give you the most personal value.

Keep Careful Budget Records

One very important step is to constantly keep updating your budget with your purchases and expenses, so that you are sure you are staying on track. This will prevent the problem of running out of funds before running out of remodeling tasks that still need to be completed.

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