Preperation and commitment are the keys to a cost effective remodel. While anything can be built, it takes time and thorough review of all the intricate details to ensure that the project is cost effective. Making changes during the project is the number one reason for exceeding the originally planned and agreed upon budget.
It is incredibly important to understand not only the project at hand but also whether or not this work is going to impact any of the surrounding areas. "Scope creep", or allowing the project to grow beyond original plan, can be incredibly expensive when discovered mid project.
Taking on part of the project yourself can lead to additional cost savings. For example, part of almost every project is demolition of the existing space and removal of all debris. Is this something that you are comfortable doing on your own? If so, you can reduce manpower costs associated with this component of the project.
Perhaps, demolition is not your cup of tea. Finish work is also time consuming and may allow you to save money. Painting is generally the final stage in any project and, in most cases, can easily be done by the homeowner.
If you feel that you have the time to dedicate to the project and feel comfortable with a bit of the labor, you can reduce the associated labor costs from your selected contractor.
One man's trash is another man's treasure. This old saying can lead to one of the most substantial cost savings in any project. In almost any remodel, there will be excess materials. In many poorly planned remodels, there will be improperly ordered materials as well. Sites such as Craigslist are filled with ads for material that is being sold for a fraction of the original price due to the fact that it was improperly ordered or it is just left over upon completion.
Taking advantage of these cost savings may mean making some design changes yourself. For example, you might find a number of low cost interior doors but not enough to replace every door in your home. Will the cost savings justify the variance in doors throughout the house? Is this door still in production so that you could theoretically replace the other doors at full price? Having an eye for design, mixing and matching different materials and planning ahead are the key components to ensuring you get the most value for your dollar in materials.
One of the most important things to understand in any remodeling project is what precisely is the final goal. Are you expanding the home in preperation for a new child? Is this remodel in preparation for selling the home? Is the goal to finally build that dream kitchen?
As you can guess, each of these goals will lead to different decisions in your project. For example, if you are remodeling in preparation for a sale, the goal will most likely be to ensure that each invested dollar generates a return on that investment.