Even though it’s been nearly two years since Hurricane Sandy blasted through the greater New York area, causing over $65 billion in damages, houses in Long Island are still in dire need of improvement in the storm’s wake. With finances being the number one concern for Americans in general – and New Yorkers in particular – when taking on a home improvement project, here are some very important tips to keeping your budget in check when preparing for your renovation!
- Know how much you need from the start: Get a series of estimates from a variety of contractors to get a good idea of how much you’ll need to spend to get the results you want. Once you’re given a price, put aside an additional 10% on top of the average quote to allot for unforseen expenses (such as a newly-discovered structural issue, a permit, and/or a fine).
- Weigh the pros and cons of each lending option: each lending option has its costs, and benefits – so it’s best to weigh each option against your needs before settling on an option that’s right for you. For example, if you choose to pay for your home improvement project in cash, you don’t run the risk of losing your home to default, or foreclosure, if you fail to pay back the loan. In addition, there’s no finance charges or interest. However, the drawback to this option is that it’s very difficult to keep track of payment, especially if your contractor doesn’t keep a proper paper trail.
- Consider EEC’s: EEC’s – or energy efficient credits – are another way to finance your home. If you’ve made your home energy-efficient, the US government provides a certain percentage (usually about 10%) in tax credits. This tax credit leads to a larger refund, which in turn will give you more money to improve your home.