Home Improvement on a Budget: Tips for College Students and First-Time Homebuyers

Home Improvement on a Budget
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: September 26, 2023
  • Updated On: September 26, 2023

Planning a home renovation for students and first-time homebuyers is an exhilarating yet daunting task. The process involves making crucial decisions.

You need to distinguish needs from wants. You also need to look for financing options and keep good track of the costs. It’s no secret that home improvement projects often spiral beyond the initial budget. To manage these projects successfully, here are expert tips to budget your home renovation like a pro.

1. Set renovation priorities

Begin your home renovation journey by setting your primary renovation priorities. Analyze the aspects of your home that need attention.

Take the time to create a detailed list of remodeling areas. This list will serve as your guide. It will ensure you remain focused on essential projects. It will prevent you from being distracted by smaller tasks that you can postpone.

Talking about distraction, another common thing that might get your plans off-track is the assignments and exams. Both things are important for students to score well in college. This is what sets the tone for a successful career once you step out of college. To ensure that your renovation work does not impact studies, get help from StudyMoose.

Contact a writer for any easy or complex paper and you always get the response that says ‘’ we’ll write any difficulty paper for you and ensure top quality.’’ With your education goals being taken care of by professionals, you can sit back and relax. From nursing to engineering courses and many more, there’s help available for everyone.

2. Cost vs. Value assessment

Buying a house as a student is a huge task. And then going for renovation right after makes it even more challenging. If your future plans involve selling your home, it’s crucial to consider the return on investment for each renovation project. Maximize the value of your property by aligning your renovations with market trends. 

The “Cost vs. Value” reports can be a valuable resource. It offers insights into the cost and expected resale value of common remodeling projects. This helps you determine which projects are financially worthwhile.

3. Explore financing options

Now comes the challenging part. It is about financing your renovation project. Begin by analyzing your current financial situation. Do you have enough savings to cover the renovation? Will you need to borrow money?

There are options like home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOC). You can use your credit cards as well. But before you do that, be sure to have a repayment plan while assessing your future income potential. Credit card interest will cost you dearly so think twice before making a move.

When you buy a house as a college student, chances are high that you go for a mortgage. So further financing for renovation projects should be planned in advance.

4. Seek guidance from experienced people

First time home buying tips for students from experts are important. Similarly, talk to individuals who have undergone similar home renovation projects. Their firsthand experiences will provide invaluable insights into what to expect during your project.

Learn not only about successful strategies but also about common mistakes to avoid. Those who have renovated before can offer tips on where to find affordable materials and supplies. This knowledge from experts ultimately saves you money.

6. Get multiple contractor bids

If you plan to enlist the services of a general contractor, it’s wise to request bids from at least three different professionals. Contractor bids can vary significantly based on factors like workload and percentage charges. 

According to Angi, most general contractors charge a percentage of the total project cost. It is usually from 10 to 20%. Beware of quotes that appear too good to be true, as they may indicate inexperience or a lack of transparency.

7. Research materials and suppliers

To manage your renovation budget, it’s key to have a good understanding of material costs. Dedicate time to researching the specific materials required for your project. This includes countertops, appliances, vanities, and flooring. While online research is valuable, visit local home improvement stores. 

The best ones include Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and other specialized suppliers. Researching both online and offline stores will help you get accurate pricing information.

8. Identify opportunities to cut costs

Efficient budgeting often involves identifying opportunities to reduce unnecessary expenses. While maintaining quality is essential, explore alternatives like gently used or refurbished items. Collaborate with your contractor to source surplus materials from previous projects. Consider purchasing items during sales. Hire subcontractors instead of a general contractor for specific tasks. Do some DIY work to further economize.


Budgeting for a home renovation is a huge task. It requires careful planning and financial discipline. By sticking to these eight tips, you can manage your renovation project with confidence. This ensures that your goal for your home improvement is in sync with your finances. A well-executed renovation will enhance your living space and add long-term value to your property.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.