Know Your Garage Remodel Costs

Deciding to build or remodel a garage is a major decision. And as soon as you make it, there’s one more right on its heels: Can you afford it? Use these 5 tips to help you create a realistic budget and stick to it.

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Have a ballpark figure in mind. Determine what you can comfortably afford to spend on your garage remodeling or building project. Where does it fall in your list of home improvement priorities? Will you be spending 100% of your remodeling and construction budget on it? Having a clear idea of your price ceiling will help you avoid making choices that are too expensive or elaborate and having to scale back in the process.

Plan how you’ll pay for it. Do you have savings or expected income that will finance the project? Will you be tapping into home equity? The last thing you want is to get a bill from your contractor without having an idea of how you’ll cover it.

Budget for unexpected costs. One of the truths of construction is to expect the unexpected. Any number of things, such as a previously unknown problem behind the walls, can throw a wrench in the works of your project and add to labor and materials costs. Factor in a 15 to 20 percent margin for error so your budget stays on track.

Know your priorities. Will your garage be purely functional? If so, durable surfaces and systems trump expensive trappings. Make a list of what you’ll need, from storage to appliances to furnishings, and then rank every item in order of importance. That way, if you have to cut things as you get farther into the process, it will be easier to make choices.

Be diligent about tracking spending. All the budgeting in the world doesn't do any good if you don’t know how much you’ve spent. Create a spreadsheet or other document to keep tabs. Be diligent about entering costs as they come up so the process doesn't get overwhelming.

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