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How to win your Basement Remodel Budget Battle

remodel a small basement
Remodeling your basement can be a costly project. If you hire a contractor you may pay up to $25 per square foot to turn your basement into usable space. Even doing most of the work yourself can run between $6000 and $7000 dollars. This means finding ways to finish your basement as inexpensively as possible if your on a budget. Learning how to remodel your basement on a budget isn’t the same as learning calculus though. By taking the time to do some planning and research, including reading our guide, you can end up with a great space without needing a second job.

One of the main things that will keep your basement remodel within your budget is to be realistic about what you will be able to accomplish. You won’t be able to afford high end finishes if your budget is on the low end of the scale. Expensive rare hardwood floors aren’t necessary to get a basement you enjoy being in. So your first goal as you decide what you can do in your basement is to not try to have more than you can afford. This doesn’t mean you have to go cheap on everything though, our guide will help you decide the best places to put your budget, and how to get the most out of it.

To help you keep your remodel inside a small budget we will do our best to break down where you can save money in the main areas of a remodel. For a full guide to basement remodeling check out our Ultimate Guide to How to Remodel a Basement. Think of these as savings prompts, if you have ideas beyond these let us know in the comments below!

Design Phase

Saving money in the design phase can be a tricky proposition because most of the actions taken in this phase don’t have a large price tag. The main way to save money is to do all of your design work yourself. By avoiding asking a professional to take measurements, or make choices you also avoid having to pay them to do those things.

Do the research into your design ideas yourself. You can find a lot of information online, or at the public library. Using these resources will allow you to make the best choices on your own.

Pre-Construction Phase

Taking a large amount of time in the pre-construction is one of the best ways to ensure your basement remodel can fit in a smaller budget. Detailed plans and carefully thought out options save you thousands in fixing mistakes and unnecessary delays.

This is where you truly have to make hard choices when pursuing a basement remodel on a budget. You won’t be able to have it all, so you need to make plans for getting as much as possible out of your budget.

This means selecting some choices that may not be high end. It means forgoing crown molding, and other bells and whistles that are nice but not necessary to have a finished space. Making smart choices before you even begin construction keeps you inside of your budget.

Decide to do as much as you can yourself. Go through your plans line by line and determine how much you can accomplish without getting a contractor. Doing things yourself does not always have to mean you need to be a handyman. Even signing on to do cleanup, transportation, and small jobs can stretch your budget farther than you would have thought.

Make sure you get competitive bids in this phase of your remodel. The best idea is to get at least three bids for anything you need to contract out. This will hopefully encourage a little competition among the contractors and you can get a better price. Do your best not to just go with the first contractor who offers to do the work. This may be frustrating and take longer, but in the end you can find yourself with a little extra money in your budget for it.

Procurement Phase

Sourcing your materials yourself can also save you money. Be innovative and look at different options for finding your materials. Some places to think about are auctions, relatives, surplus stores and outlets. These are places a contractor won’t look, but you should be looking. Finding your materials at the lowest price is your goal.

When getting your permits completed see if you can bundle them to save money on fees. Turning in 10 different requests incurs a fee for each permit request. Depending on the permitting process you may be able to turn in one plan and save on some costs. Research this with your local building department to see if you can save this way.

Construction Phase

Finding ways to save in the construction phase means making the best of the situation. As you, or the contractors you engage, are doing the construction always look for ways to save a few dollars. Being open and adaptable during construction lets you pitch in where you can, and complete what you can to lower your costs.

Your repairs and fixes are often a great place to save money on your budget. Since these are done before the actual remodeling takes place you have time to learn how, and then make the repairs on your own. Do these bit by bit and even the most inexperienced home owner may be able to do more than they ever thought.

Occupancy Phase

Your occupancy phase is where you can save money by doing the cleanup and final efforts on your own. This is also where you make sure you are saving money down the road by ensuring you get warranties on all of the work done by contractors.

Good record keeping is important to saving money down the road. Spend the time and effort to register any materials that you can with their manufacturer. Keep all warranty paperwork and receipts in a folder or envelope and store this in a safe place.