If you live in your home long enough, sooner or later you're going to have to do things to maintain it such as replace the roof, or paint the outside. And in many cases, you may even want to do some remodeling as a way of giving your old house that new house look, especially if you are getting it in shape to sell.
Home improvements aren't cheap. And if you try to do them cheaply it usually ends up costing you more in the end because inexpensive materials don't last as long as those of better quality and contractors will make low bids only to be followed by low-quality work.
To help in your efforts to keep remodeling costs contained without sacrificing quality here are six solid tips supplied by CNN Money to get good quality for less.
The first tip is to renovate during an economic slump like the one we're having because contractors are eager for work. They tend to be more willing to cut deals when they have a lot free time on their hands.
Second, do the work off season. If you do a project when other homeowners aren't, you could save you about 10%, according to Robert Wilkos, who runs an HVAC and plumbing business in Panama City, Florida. For example, in autumn, put in a new patio or lawn irrigation system even though you won't be using it until the following spring. And in winter, finish the basement or install central air. Then wait until summer to replace your old furnace or install a gas fireplace. Get the bids during the busy season, then ask, "If I'm willing to wait, will you give me a discount?"
Third, look for a mom-and-pop contractor. If you have a choice between large outfits where the boss or a salesman bids on the job, then sends a crew to work and a small, or family-run one where the boss is the lead laborer, choose the small one. It will have leaner operations and lower overhead so they can charge less than the big guys.
Fourth, combine small jobs into one. If a handyman charges $75 for a service call, you get more for your money by saving up odd jobs such as replacing a faucet or installing a ceiling fan.
Fifth, you might be able to get a tax deduction. Give your demolition castoffs -- sinks, paneling, doors, and the like -- to a building product reuse center. Call your local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. You can find it through habitat.org. They'll send a truck to collect the stuff. Get a receipt and you can deduct the value of the items as a charitable donation.
Sixth, put some of your own sweat into the process. Take on some simple projects yourself, such as sealing your new fencing or staining the deck. Or pay your teenager a modest amount to do it. Who knows? If the kid's good, the contractor might even give him a job next summer.