The first few steps of any home improvement project are about asking a few key questions. What is the scope? What is the budget? Should I attempt to do the work myself? Determining the answers to these questions will save you both money and time on your next home improvement project.

To learn how these three, simple questions will save you money on your home improvement project, keep reading.

1. What is the scope?

Start by having a clear understanding of what you want to do. Essentially, you need to have a plan. If you decide that your only goal is to make cosmetic changes, like new paint or some flooring, then great – you can budget accordingly and probably take on the job yourself.

Meanwhile, if you want to make major structural changes, you can plan out the new layouts. Some builders recommend laying out mock-ups with masking tape and cardboard so you can get a feel for the new space before you commit to it.

2. What is my budget?

This is your most important money-saving step. More than getting a great deal on tiling or saving on a contract hire, planning out a budget and sticking to it will save you the most money.

When budgeting, always pad your figures by about 20 percent to account for unexpected supply costs, hidden expenses and surprise purchases. Don’t deplete these reserves unless it’s absolutely necessary. Reserve funds tend to dry up fast on large renovation projects.

Finally, save more money with low-interest financing or by paying for the project with cash. Cash is the simplest and cheapest way to fund any remodeling projects – no lenders and no interest.

3. Should I do it myself?

We often think we can save money on a home renovation by doing it ourselves, but our limited knowledge or skills can sometimes cause more damage than good.

Before you grab those tools, ask yourself if you have sufficient understanding of the work involved to take on the project? Do you have the right tools or access to the right tools? Can you do the project safely? Do you have enough free time to get the project done in a timely manner? Are you confident that you can hit an acceptable level of quality? Are you sufficiently physically fit to take on the job? Can you obtain the required permits? And, finally, is this actually something you want to do?

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