GetSmart.com Shares Ways to Save Big Bucks on Home Renovations

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Many are choosing to build up vs. out. With that in mind, what do homeowners need to know in order to have a successful renovation and save money while doing in? GetSmart.com is here to help.

Rather than moving out, some are considering a home renovation. In fact, quite a few people are considering this option as Americans spent $312 billion on home remodeling in 2006 alone, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute.

If you are one of the many who is embarking on a home remodel project in the near future, consider some of the following tips brought to you by GetSmart.com:

Expect the unexpected.
Home renovations can come with surprises. You could pull up the carpet and discover joist problems. Or a contractor discovers your sewer line is cracked. Since costly repairs may arise that you don't expect, create a budget in advance that includes a little extra padding. Cushion the budget by 10-20% to account for these types of surprises so that if something does come up, it won't break the bank. After all, it's not like you want to ask a contractor to stop in the middle of a job because you ran out of money.

Use low-cost financing.
Major renovations can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Rather than using credit cards to finance the work, consider taking out a low-cost home equity loan. Also a home equity line of credit (HELOCs) may be an attractive option since they allow you to draw on the funds as you need them rather than all at once.

Shop 'til you drop.
For all major work, do your research by getting quotes from at least three contractors. When comparing prices, make sure you're comparing the exact same scope of work (meaning be sure you're comparing apples to apples). Ask contractors whether they're giving you a firm quote that will not go up, or if there's a chance the estimate could increase under various scenarios during the project. If so, sort through possible scenarios so you know what to expect if you go this route.

Do it yourself.
Take a stab at doing the less skilled renovation work yourself. You may actually have fun doing such tasks as demolition. Tearing out old carpet or removing your home's fixtures may be a quick and easy way to save yourself some money. But before you start pulling out carpet tacks, be sure to check with your contractor first. Each contractor varies on what homeowner involvement they allow.

Some contractors will allow the homeowner to purchase the materials for the job. That helps avoid a contractor's markup on materials and lets you know exactly how much you're spending. Be careful, though, as not all contractors will allow you to do this as they're afraid you may get the wrong materials, make a mistake in measuring or mess with their delicate construction schedule.

About GetSmart®
GetSmart is a leading financial services marketplace that offers borrowers access to a range of home loan products from a network of more than 250 lenders. Consumers who visit the site at http://www.getsmart.com fill out a short and simple form to be matched with up to five lenders.

GetSmart is owned and operated by LendingTree, LLC, which is part of IAC Financial Services and Real Estate, an operating company of IAC, which also owns or operates LendingTree Loans sm, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC, RealEstate.comsm, Domania®, and iNest Realty, Inc.

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ALLISON VAIL
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