With the holidays (and associated chaos) fast approaching, you probably aren’t putting much thought into home improvement—except, perhaps, to grumble about the fact that you’ll have to cook another Thanksgiving meal in your outdated kitchen, or to wish that you didn’t have to steer your fa-la-la-ing guests toward your house’s only bathroom with its leaky faucet.
If those complaints sound annoyingly familiar, you may not want to put off thinking about a remodel until the spring. According to Dan Fritschen, founder of www.remodelormove.com, a golden opportunity to get a head start on planning the house of your dreams is right around the corner, and it goes by the name “Black Friday.”
“When many people think about Black Friday, they have visions of sale-crazed hordes trampling each other in pursuit of merchandise, claustrophobia-causing crowds, and a shopping experience that’s so horrible it’s not worth the savings,” acknowledges Fritschen. “But if you have a remodeling project in mind, you might want to conquer your fears and revise your post-Thanksgiving plans.”
Most remodeling projects aren’t cheap—even if you’re going the DIY route. And the super sales that are offered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday could realistically take your expenses from budget-busting to reasonable. If you aren’t convinced, consider the cost of a kitchen remodel in which appliances can easily account for 30 percent of the total. Saving just 10 percent on those purchases might bring down your expenditure by thousands of dollars.
“Plus, at this time of year, remodeling supplies aren’t as sought-after,” Fritschen shares. “So you’ll often find that home improvement retailers discount them that much more in order to get consumers’ attention.”
If you’re planning on remodeling your home in the foreseeable future, read on to learn what Fritschen says you should do now to get the most for your money:
Make a list and check it twice. According to Fritschen, most homeowners are shocked by how complicated remodeling actually is. For instance, if you’re redoing your kitchen, you might naively focus the majority of your planning on picking out appliances, cabinets, and countertops…and once work commences, be blindsided by the amount of details you’ve overlooked (think drawer knobs, paint colors, lighting, cabinet hinges, faucet types, disposals, etc.).
“Now’s the time to educate yourself on everything you’ll need for your remodel,” Fritschen says. “Try to formulate as complete a list as possible, including photos so that you won’t accidentally miss any discounts or sales. Years of experience have taught me that autumn and winter are some of the best times to buy, since remodeling ‘season’ usually takes place in the spring and summer.”
Go shopping with a strategy. Most retailers publish the details of their post-Thanksgiving sales well in advance, so take a little time to map out where and when to get the best deals. Keep in mind that, thanks to modern technology, you might save the most money if you do your shopping from your trusty laptop.
“If you do have to venture out into the crowds, don’t feel that you need to be in line by midnight—most Black Friday die-hard shoppers are honing in on products like clothes, electronics, and the season’s must-have toys,” Fritschen points out. “You probably aren’t going to have to battle someone else for the last gas range in the aisles of the hardware store…though it never hurts to show up early.”
Read up on return policies. If you aren’t planning on starting your remodel immediately, check and double-check return policies before buying materials. Especially on big-ticket items, you’ll want to make sure you’re not making an irreversible commitment.
“A thousand little things could change between now and next summer, for example,” Fritschen says. “You might need to change your plans because of budget issues. The product you bought might turn out to be defective. You might simply change your mind and decide that you’d like to go with a different style of light fixture. Make sure you don’t accidentally lock yourself into something you’ll later regret buying!”
Surf the ’Net—but be smart about it. As Fritschen has mentioned before, you may be able to find some of your remodeling supplies online—it’s called Cyber Monday for a reason! But before you whip out the credit card and click away, do a little preparation. If possible, Fritschen suggests scoping out big-ticket items in person. For instance, it’s well worth your time to measure the refrigerator you’ve been eyeing and look at it next to the paint and countertop samples you’re considering.
“Pay special attention to shipping fees and, again, return policies,” he adds. “If you have to send something large or heavy back and pay return shipping, it could eat up your savings and more.”
Remember that there’s an app for that! According to an NRF.com holiday spending survey, 33 percent of consumers will use their smartphones to research products and compare prices in the coming month. And if you’re remodeling, you have a great incentive to join them.
For more information, visit www.remodelormove.com.