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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on February 21st, 2024

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Balancing Quality and Cost: How to Achieve High-Quality Renovations within Your Budget in Connecticut

Residential | Residential Remodeling

You'd like to remodel your home, but you don't want to spend a fortune. You're concerned about money, but you don't want a low-quality work product. How can you balance quality and cost when making home improvements? 

It's a common problem. Quality and cost are often directly related, so is it possible to remodel your home for an affordable price without buying a low-cost product?

Knowing your budget, hiring the right contractor, and controlling the scope of your project are key to conducting renovations within your budget. If you're trying to control costs but still want to install quality products and finishes in your home remodel, here's what you need to know. 

Make a Budget

Start the remodeling process by creating a budget. Knowing how much you can afford to spend is crucial. With a solid budget in place, you can shop for fixtures and finishes that fit within that budget. If your budget doesn't allow for you to purchase quality products for your remodel, your contractor will let you know.

Know your goals. Why are you remodeling? What are the most important parts of the remodel? What are the must-haves, and what are the nice-to-haves? Make a list of goals and share this list with every potential contractor you vet for this project. 

Get quotes from three contractors. Getting quotes will help you estimate a realistic cost for your project. Don't look for a contractor that will tell you what you want to hear. Instead, look for contractors that are willing to have honest discussions about costs, quality and what is realistic within your budget. 

If you need financing, work with a lender you trust. Secure a loan with payment terms that you can afford. Avoid the temptation to take out a loan that's bigger than you can afford. It's better to control the scope of the project than to borrow more money than you can realistically pay back. 

Control the Scope of the Project

Controlling the scope of the project is key to performing a home remodel you can afford with quality materials that will last. This is where your list of goals, must-haves and nice-to-haves will come in handy.

Design a project that accomplishes your goals first. If you have room in the budget to include a few nice-to-haves, you're in great shape. Staying within this list can prevent the project from ballooning beyond your budget. 

Hire a Contractor With Integrity

A good contractor will come at a price, but it takes a good contractor to see your project from start to completion. It's important to hire a contractor you can afford, but don't prioritize saving money over doing the work right. 

Why Does Contractor Skill and Experience Matter?

A skilled and experienced contractor is a master at planning projects, and can ensure that your project is well-orchestrated at every step. Without this skill, your project could experience delays that could cost you money and inconvenience.

A skilled contractor also has the communication skills required to ensure that your project will be a success. Communication skills are just as important as building and project management skills when it comes to successful completion of a home remodeling project. Your contractor must communicate with all parties, from the subcontractors to the architect, engineers and the homeowners themselves. Successful communication strategies prevent mistakes and disputes that can ruin a home remodel. 

Sometimes finding the right contractor can be tough. Litchfield Builders offers a helpful guide to finding a residential contractor in Connecticut. Some tips:

  • Contact references. You should never hire a contractor that can't provide you with a list of references. Ask the contractor for references that had similar work done on their home, so you can feel confident that contractor knows how to perform the work you want to hire them to do.
  • Look at portfolio. You'll get an idea about the contractor's experience and quality of work based on their portfolio. Many contractors feature their portfolio on their website
  • Consider reputation. How long has the contractor been in business? Do they have memberships with reputable building associations? Have they received awards? All of the answers to these questions can help you gauge a contractor's reputation. 

Avoid Contractors that Dramatically Underbid Competitors

Some contractors are willing to lower their price just to get the job, but often they do this by sacrificing quality. Some will buy low quality materials, others hire unskilled labor or subcontractors that can't quite cut it. 

If a contractor dramatically underbids the competition, ask yourself how and why. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Red flags to watch for include: 

  • Contractor can't furnish references. A contractor should always be able to produce a list of references that can vouch for their skill, reliability and integrity. 
  • Willing to do the work without a contract. If your contractor is willing to do the work without a contract, this could be a sign that they're not willing to stick by their low bid when push comes to shove. 
  • Have no professional license. Connecticut law requires a license to work as a contractor. An unlicensed individual may be able to keep their costs low, but are you comfortable hiring a contractor that lacks the proper credentials and integrity? 

Find a Contractor You Can Trust

If you're determined to perform renovations within your budget, find a contractor that's honest about your budget and costs related to your remodel. Download our free guide to help you find a reputable Connecticut contractor. 

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.