Blog: Contractor Chatter

Home Improvements in Seattle – Keeping Costs down

Updated 4/8/22

Home improvements in Seattle don’t need to cost a fortune

For homeowners looking to make home improvements here in Seattle and well, just about anywhere, the biggest barrier to getting things done is cost. Simply put, if you don’t feel like you can afford it, you won’t do it. There are no half measures here. You can’t cut corners just to get a project off the ground.

There are things to look for, however, that will help to reduce upfront cost. Consideration that will lead to cost savings when starting new home improvement projects.

Here are three crucial points that you need to bearing in mind:

The first step is choosing the right general contracting company for the job. Upfront interviews can uncover trustworthy firms who aren’t looking to gouge clients. Their focus will be on helping you – not extracting every available penny from the project. What is more, by choosing a competent design-build construction company, you save immediately by not paying both a designer and a contractor separately. This will significantly reduce costs.

Why choose a design-build contractor?

So, what is design-build?  Design-build is a method to deliver a project in which the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity.

The design-build process aids to minimize risks for the homeowner. It will also speeds up project completion as the processes of design and construction can overlapped. For home improvements here in Seattle, this means less time in construction, more time enjoying the often all-too-short sunny season.

Plus, less time often equates to a lower investment. More importantly, this home improvement option reduces cost overruns because the builder gets much more familiar with the project and the unique existing conditions of your home early on in the process, long before anything is built. This lowers the risk of budget-busting surprises as there will be less unknowns and less opportunity to overlook potential issues and would normally be discovered during construction.

Choosing materials that work for you

Another great way to save on home improvements is through tax credits and government incentives. By deciding to take an energy-conscientious approach, you can qualify for many local state and federal benefits.

Even if your project doesn’t yet include an energy efficient upgrade, by adding one you might qualify for substantial returns. For example, add a solar panel installation or upgrade to your project and you could qualify with little effort.

Also, by including new insulation or other energy saving products, you can save money on things like heating and cooling costs. These upgrades need to be taken into account when reviewing your overall cost. After construction is complete, you will enjoy savings for years to come. The effect isn’t immediate; however, you will still recoup a good portion of its cost.

For example, by implementing energy and water efficient technologies into your entire home, you can lower your utility costs up to 65%. An extra upfront investment of $4 per SF can net you up to a $62 per SF benefit over 20 years. Not to mention, you can even earn up to a 4% increase on your home valuation for every dollar you invest and some individuals have actually increased the total value of their home by over 30% after implementing green building technologies into their home. If that’s not an effective use of the budget for your upcoming project, I don’t know what is.

A last, critical note on materials and finishes that you need to remember is this:
Your personal decisions on selections will account for 60% or more of your overall project investment. The majority of your project cost is in your hands.

In today’s greater Seattle market, labor rates are very similar across the board. The hourly charges for the majority of contractors in the area are nearly identical, give or take a few dollars per hour. This means that it’s your material selection and design decisions that will have the greatest impact on your wallet. So, choose wisely.

Cost and its impact on value

Home improvements in Seattle have an effect on finances that cannot be measured simply in cost. Many projects around your home will actually add value to your home. At the very least they will help speed the sale of your home when you’re planning for an address change. If you are looking to sell, this will mean quicker turnarounds and less time spent negotiating. To learn more about potential cost recoup percentages, a quick Google search for Cost vs Value from Remodeling Magazine will deliver some invaluable information that you need to review.

In our focus on cost, we often forget that a bit of strategic planning and out-of-the-box thinking will save money too. Keeping your costs low and planning for other financial benefits will make affording your next home improvement project easier.

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