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[10 on Tuesday] How to Keep a Renovation/Rehabilitation Project from Breaking the Bank


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In our ongoing series about renovating and rehabilitating historic homes, we’re looking at the topics of managing the budget and keeping costs down. Of course, everyone wants the best work they can afford, and by following a few easy steps, you can make your dollars go farther.

Read the full restoration/rehabilitation toolkit series here:

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[10 on Tuesday] How to Keep a Renovation/Rehabilitation Project from Breaking the Bank

  1. 1. Photo courtesy 401(K) 2013, FlickrHow to Keep a Renovation/Rehabilitation Project fromBreaking the Bank
  2. 2. How much you have (and want) to spend on a project is apersonal decision that needs to take into account your finances,home value, local real estate values, availability of loans, etc.Having this number in mind at the start of the project is keybecause it can help you make decisions from what contractor toselect to the kinds of materials and finishes you can afford.1. Know your budget.Photo courtesy 401(K) 2013, Flickr
  3. 3. Creating an accurate estimate for a historichome can be difficult for even seasonedprofessionals, because of the unknowns thatmay surface in a project. (Hello, asbestosabatement!) Most estimates are based on thetime required to complete a project, the numberof workers needed to complete it, and the hardcosts of materials. You should get severalestimates and compare both the price and theexperience level of the professionals you select.Tip: Always be sure to check references beforeyou hire any firm or individual.2. Gather estimates.Photo courtesy spike55151, Flickr
  4. 4. Typically, you will pay for work asmilestones are reached in the project planyou’ve agreed to with the contractor. Besure the work is completed to yoursatisfaction before making payment. In theevent your contractor wishes to be paid ona weekly or bi-weekly basis, assess theamount of work that remains and plan thepayments accordingly.3. Set a payment schedule.Photo courtesy bryankennedy, Flickr
  5. 5. Not sure how to get started with developing a construction plan?You’re in luck! We covered that in last week’s toolkit.4. Create -- and stick to -- a plan.Photo courtesy TaranRampersad, Flickr
  6. 6. Completing like work together and in an orderthat doesn’t require backtracking cuts down onset-up and break-down time for craftspeople,keeping your costs down as well.5. Follow a sequence.Photo courtesy hdes.copeland, Flickr
  7. 7. Make sure your plan and construction schedule have someflexibility built in to cover the inevitable delays without rackingup additional costs.6. Be realistic.Photo courtesy paul_fujimoto, Flickr
  8. 8. In the event you’ve chosen a do-it-yourself route for your project, besure to consult with knowledgeable researchers, architects, orlandscape architects about your project.7. Talk to the experts.Photo courtesy blueskypoint, Flickr
  9. 9. Your DIY home restoration orrehabilitation work is not the time for on-the-job training. Before you start, learnthe skills you’ll need to succeed -- eitherin a classroom setting, from materialsuppliers, or with hands-on training fromcraftspeople. Making mistakes due tolack of knowledge will end up costing inthe long run.8. Do not “fake it„til you make it.”Photo courtesy Triver, Flickr
  10. 10. Though most low-interest loans, taxabatements, easements, and assistance forrestoration or rehabilitation projects are forincome-generating properties, you may be ableto find a state or local program for homeowners.Check with your statewide historic preservationoffice (SHPO) to learn more.9. Look for assistance.Photo courtesy chicagogeek, Flickr
  11. 11. All these money-saving ideas aside, don’t skimp where it matters.It’s better -- and in the long run, cheaper -- to do things right thefirst time. Shoddy craftsmanship and/or inappropriate materialsgenerally increase future costs, due to the need for repair oradditional maintenance.10. Keep quality high.Photo courtesy origamidon, Flickr
  12. 12. Ten on Tuesday features ten preservationtips each week. For more tips,