Home Help: Plan ahead to save on a home improvement project

Staff Writer
The Destin Log


Before embarking on a home improvement project, there are several steps a homeowner can take to manage the time and expense while making the effort run more smoothly:

1. Regardless of the type of project you’re planning, research the possibilities before you get started. From comparing prices to evaluating styles and features, knowing all your available options will help ensure you make right choices for your needs.

2. When evaluating appliances or equipment, pay attention to variables that may affect the overall project cost. For example, installing a generator with a power management system like Symphony® II from Briggs & Stratton, can help meet your home’s backup power requirements with a smaller, more affordable generator. This can potentially knock hundreds if not thousands of dollars off a generator purchase with a little research ahead of time to find the right-size generator needed for a home. An online calculator tool at powernow.com can help match homeowners with the best generator for their individual needs.

3. Determine a budget, and stick to it. Be realistic and remember that a little more investment upfront may buy quality that will save money on repairs and replacements down the road. Another good rule of thumb: add at least 10 percent buffer to help cover unexpected expenses.

4. Assess whether the project is something you can tackle on your own, and whether time or ability may impede your progress. If you need to enlist help, gather estimates and check references for at least three contractors.

5. Set expectations for yourself and your family about how long the project will take. If you’re working with a contractor, get a time projection in writing, as well as a written agreement about what happens if the project runs past deadline.