Committing to a bathroom remodel is no joke
Even a simple bathroom remodeling project takes a lot of planning, time, and commitment.
For some people, that dream bathroom is also going to cost more than that they might have. But many will consider that cost as an investment into their perfect bathroom. That is why it is so important to carefully look at your financing options before committing to anything big.
The first thing to look at is how big a project you are planning. According to Home Advisor and Angie’s List, the average price to remodel a bathroom is around $10,000. If you are looking to do minor remodeling, the average is around $6,000, with the lowest price found around $2,000. But that is only for minor remodels.
Higher end remodels, like those to master bathrooms, typically cost up to $25,000 with more extensive projects rising as high as $50,000.
Before figuring anything else out, decide how extensive a project this is and how much you are willing to spend because that will dictate your finance options for a bathroom remodeling.
Once you have figured out the scope of your project, you can start looking at options.
Minor Bathroom Remodel Financing
There are plenty of options for you if your bathroom remodel is on the cheaper side of things. The easiest choice is to finance through a credit card. They offer limited rates of 0% interest, there is limited hassle in securing one (credit scores of as low as 584 can still get quite good cards), and payments aren’t generally that steep.
If you have a credit card with a good limit, you might be able to do all the financing on your own. Just make sure that you allocate money accordingly to make your monthly payments. This is a great option if your credit can handle it and you know you can make your payments.
For Slightly Larger Remodels
If you’re changing electrical and or plumbing then you’re looking at a more extensive and therefore expensive remodel. Be sure to make changes thoughtfully in your electrical and plumbing to keep costs down.
Check out this excellent lighting guide to help you keep electrical costs down.
Even a well planed out remodel with added plumbing and electrical expenses could cause the total to reach the $8,000-10,000 range. For that you may want to look into home improvement credit cards. These are cards that will give you 0% interest for long periods of time and are perfect for projects like a bathroom remodel.
Wells Fargo’s Platinum Visa and Chase’s Ink card both give 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, after that the variable APR is 15.49% – 21.49%. While the regular APR can be a little tough, plan carefully so that you can pay it off during that introductory rate.
Small Personal Loans
If you think it will take you a little longer to pay off your remodel, a small personal loan may be the choice for you. The biggest advantage for a loan is that you make consistent payments of the same price. There is no introductory grace period for interest, but if you are paying $200 one month, you can expect to be paying it the next month.
Rates for personal loans can range from extremely low 3% to as high as 25%, which isn’t much better than a credit card. Again, what you are looking for is consistency in payments though. Most loans will have a minimum loan amount of $3,000 with payment averaging 3-5 years.
If you can find a good interest rate at a local lender or bank for a small loan, you may want to consider this option. Be warned, loans have a higher credit score requirement than credit cards, though they may vary from lender to lender.
Home Improvement Loans
If you are doing major work on your bathroom from the $10,000-$50,000 range, your only real option is to look into a home improvement loan. Like small personal loans, this will allow you to plan regular payments over the course of several years.
If you have reasonably good FICO credit (around 620), you can generally secure a home loan, particularly if the loan is for a lower amount. Talk to banks in your area or research local lenders and be careful of what your interest rate is and what your monthly payments would be.
DELIVERY METHODS FOR BATHROOM REMODELING
But before you start putting money down, you need to figure out how you are going to implement your remodel with designers and contractors. This is commonly called a delivery method or contractual format, and though there are many, there are two that are the most popular (and most cost effective) models.
DBB often seems like the most cost-effective method since the owner is the one in charge. Essentially, you will contract out a design firm to work out the logistics of your remodel. Once you have that, you present the design to contractors in the bid phase. Contractors then bid to take on the job and implement the final design.
For owners who want to closely manage their remodel, this might be a good choice. However, there are pretty big risks associated with DBB. The biggest risk is that unlike other models, the designers and contractors have no obligation to one another. If anything goes wrong with implementing the design documents, it is all on the owner.
DB is the second most common delivery method for a remodel, and it is by far the safer of the options. Unlike DBB, the owner works with just a single contractor. Planning and communication with that contractor is paramount since the owner won’t be bidding to several companies with design documents.
The risk of the remodel also falls squarely on the contractor’s shoulders. If both parties have communicated an effective design and plan, then it is up to the contractor, not the owner, to make sure it works out.
Studies by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) have found that DB outperforms DBB in cost, schedule control, number of change orders, and quality of end product.
My Experience with Design-Build
I can personally attest to the power of Design-Build. I’ve been doing bathroom remodeling here in Salem, Oregon for over 20 years, and time and again I have seen DBB has cost owners. Finding a contractor who communicates your needs is far more important than one that promises the bottom line on a remodel, especially if it is at the cost of quality.
If you are still unsure about what delivery method is right for you, or your options, please don’t hesitate to call me at (503) 851-8489