Seven ways to renovate without breaking the bank

It’s no secret that certain homes in Tallapoosa County are in high demand. In fact, with limited homes available for sale late last year, property values increased. As a result, many homeowners may be thinking about renovating and modernizing their homes, knowing such improvements could add value if they sell later.

Budgets are always a concern, of course, so here are seven home renovation ideas that won’t break the bank:

Install crown molding.

This feature adds charm and character without a big price tag, especially for the do-it-yourself types. Expect to pay 50 cents to $3 per foot of crown molding. But be sure to pay attention to air vents, ceiling fixtures and smoke detectors before starting. Otherwise, these features will have to be moved to properly fit the molding.

Swap bathroom fixtures.

We often think of remodeling as a total renovation when it doesn’t have to be. So, before demolishing the bathroom’s vanity, think instead about shopping for a new sink or faucet that matches the existing décor. Minor accessories like towel bars and soap dispensers also could make an impact.

Don’t discredit the power of paint.

A fresh coat of paint could change the ambiance of a room in a cost-effective way. But don’t just think of walls, think cabinets and doors, too.

Avoid relocating plumbing or electrical systems.

Homeowners might want to improve the electrical or mechanical functions of their homes, but moving them can be extremely pricey. Instead, upgrade appliances to add to the resale value while shaving money off the electric bill. And for homes in an area that are prone to flooding, consider renovating drainage systems outside the homes’ perimeters to help protect these systems.

Refinish old floors.

According to the website HomeAdvisor, it costs roughly $1.50 to $4 per square foot to refinish hardwood floors. But this is one project with which we recommend consulting a professional to do the job, which typically takes about two days to complete. So be prepared to clear out during the project and enjoy the outdoors.

Use multiple sources to find quality contractors.

For projects out of normal DIY capabilities – such as refinishing the floors – we advise getting at least three different quotes from contractors. Read reviews and meet with those contractors in person to make a sound decision.

Take it slow and plan ahead.

It’s always wise to work on one renovation project at a time, rather than tackling multiple rooms at once.

And as a good rule of thumb: Provide a cushion for any unanticipated expenses by adding 15 percent to any budget.

~ David Ballard is a home loan consultant for Valley Bank, focusing on making loans to potential homebuyers in Alexander City, Birmingham and Montgomery. Contact Ballard at 205-408-2095 or visit