Retail clerks look at you rather quizzically if you say you’re paying cash. Their expressions seem to say, “I have to count what?” or, “Just don’t hold up the line digging in your purse or pockets for loose change that I’ll be forced to count.”
In the remodeling world, the answer right now is “Cash!” A recent Houzz survey found that eight in 10 homeowners are paying cash for major remodeling jobs. They are saving for their remodels, and finding that if they curtail some expenses, they can save more on a monthly basis. Or, they have increased the equity in their homes and refinanced at a low interest rate, getting the line of credit to write a check directly to the remodeler.
But how do you know when you’ll have enough money to start the project? Do your research and have a goal. First, figure out what you want and what you can actually afford. Can you accumulate this money by saving? Get realistic price quotes by talking to a few contractors or friends who have done a remodeling project. That dream remodel you saw on HGTV may not be within reach, but a sensible remodel might well be. Project your savings time frame, but keep in mind that people tend to overspend their budgets on a remodeling effort. They upgrade products or ideas about 10 percent, so make that allowance in your savings plan. Also, be prepared for a 10 percent cushion for unexpected expenses. Now, start saving, and keep your eye on the prize.