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West Michigan experts share important tips on saving money during remodels

"A poorly planned project never goes well," said Jesse, "so make sure you always have a plan, and just know that there's right order of construction."

DORR, Mich. — From gas, groceries, to your utility bills — everything is costing more these days. That's why 13 is On Your Side with 'Surviving the Squeeze,' a special series offering meaningful ways to save money in your everyday life.

This time of year, a lot of people will be inside, looking at remodeling parts of their home, so we spoke to experts about what you can do to save money from the inside out.

"These are the busiest months of the season, so people want to make their house nice and ready, and inviting for people," said Tori Rodriguez, who owns and operates Better Home Improvements, LLC., with her husband, Jesse, right here in West Michigan.

For many renovations, like kitchens and bathrooms, most of the work is all done inside, so winter weather doesn't really matter. 

That being said, when it's cold, Jesse has some tips.

"Plan accordingly, and plan for the weather," he said. "Also, don't have a ton of construction traffic in your house, so the door isn't opening and closing all the time."

"It's easier to just hire one contractor to take care of all the work," he added. 

"And if it's possible, and it not always is, if you can move out during a remodel, that will help with the in-and-out but also it saves time," Tori said. 

So, where do you start? Tori and Jesse said the first step is having a plan. 

"A poorly planned project never goes well," said Jesse, "so make sure you always have a well-written-out plan, and just know that there's right order of construction."

The correct order, they said, will save you money in the long run, like putting electric in before drywall or when things aren't up to code. 

"Those are hidden costs that we can't see that could possibly show up," Tori explained, "and sometimes they don't show up, but then either way you have that extra money, and it's not a stressor in your life when you're already remodeling."

To help, Tori suggests when budgeting for a renovation, it's always a good idea to save about 10 to 15%.

The Rodriguezs also said that not all projects are meant to be do-it-yourself, and having a professional contractor could be huge in saving you money.

"They do it all the time, they have the tools, they're prepared for it, they're trained, and they know right off the bat what the codes are," Jesse said.

"If you're getting into a plumbing situation and you don't have the right tools or the right experience and knowledge on how to do it," he added, "you could cause leaks or failures of the plumbing system and the electrical system which can be really scary."

Some more tips they have?

"If you're doing a kitchen remodel, ask your electrician to put a dedicated outlet for the refrigerator," Jesse said, "that way, if you trip a breaker making coffee or something, you're not also losing your fridge."

They also say sometimes the cheapest isn't always the best quality. 

"If you do want to save money on cabinets, talk to a professional, because painting your old ones is a way better option than just finding the cheapest cabinets that won't last very long," Tori explained. 

The couple says windows can be a huge expense during remodels. 

"One big money-saving tip is that the glass, the pane-type is the most important, while the framing is not as important because that doesn't have as much to do with insulation," Tori added.

"If you're thinking about something, whether it's six months out, or even a year, call," Jesse and Tori agreed. "Call someone, get some quotes, and start talking about it, because it's never too early."


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