Home Improvement More Affordable Than You Expect: 3 True Stories

Would you love to upgrade or repair your home? Is there a home improvement project you’ve had simmering on the back burner for ages … but never got around to because you assumed you couldn’t afford it? Well, think again. Home repair and upgrade may be more affordable than you thought. You just need to be a little flexible, do your homework, and find a contractor who’s right for you. Read 3 true stories of homeowners who discovered that high-quality home improvement didn’t have to bust their budget.

Deck refinishing

We Got The “New Deck” Look We Wanted At A Price We Could Afford

When we bought our home a year ago, we really wanted to rip out the ugly old deck (which was splintered, with loose boards and peeling paint) and do brick pavers instead. However, we couldn’t afford everything on our “to-do” home repair list all at once.

As a result, we decided to go for a short-term fix instead of a complete overhaul at this time. So I hired a painting contractor to repair and refinish the deck. I chose him because he sounded very competent on the phone and was willing to jump on it right away. We spoke late Friday and he completed the project -- sanding and painting -- by Monday afternoon!

All my wife and I had to do was choose a color we liked (one that coordinated with our house and would cover the rusty old deck paint) and wash the surface the day before the contractor came to do the work.

Now the deck, which is 15 or 20 years old, looks new and will last us for several more summers. Most important, my kids can finally run around on it without getting splinters in their feet.

The happy ending: Refinishing the deck made a huge difference for only $500.

 Furnace repair

How A Little Research Saved Me A Lot Of $$$ On Furnace Repair

I like to take good care of my home. That’s why I scheduled a tune-up for my 8-year-old furnace with the same heating and cooling firm I’d used for many years. I also like to save money. And that’s why, when their technician told me I needed $1000 worth of repairs, I decided to do some homework and get a second opinion.

After researching other local HVAC companies, I ended up hiring a family business with just a few technicians. They’re not hugely diversified, which for me was great. I didn’t need one company to do electric, plumbing, heating, cooling, and whatever type of home repair they decided to branch out into – I just wanted a heating expert!

When the new tech checked my furnace, he found the situation was not as bleak as I had been led to believe. Of the two components I’d been told needed complete replacement, one simply had to be cleaned and the other just required lubrication.

The happy ending: Instead of paying $1000 for replacement parts, I got a very professional furnace repair for only $79.

 Kitchen remodel before and after

4 Ways A Remodeler Made Our Dream Kitchen A Reality … Without Busting Our Budget

For 10 years, my wife and I thought about doing a kitchen remodel -- like on the home improvement shows we’re addicted to. We just weren't sure if we could afford it.

When we finally decided to find a contractor, we got multiple bids, but most were too expensive ($15,000-20,000) ... not to mention discouraging! Their mindset was, "Okay, if you don't have the money, you don't have the money."

Then another contractor came along with a can-do attitude … and he’s the one we hired. Here’s what worked:

  1. Focus on our needs and budget instead of a “cookie-cutter” price.
  2. Reassurance we could make the updates we wanted for the price we were prepared to pay.
  3. Attention to our personal style.
  4. Suggestions for inexpensive cool touches we wouldn’t have thought of, like under-cabinet lighting that changes colors.

The happy ending: A “can-do” kitchen remodel contractor gave our kitchen a whole new look we love … for only $8,000!

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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