15. Demolish the whole house and start from scratch.
"Most clients don't want to hear those words," says Paul Irwin, design director with Landis Construction, in the Washington, D.C., area, "but it really needs to be considered on major remodels."In one case, for example, plans for a 1,300–square–foot addition revealed that the house's existing foundation wasn't up to code and would have to be replaced—a $30,000 proposition. After crunching the numbers, the owners concluded that it would cost as much to update the house, a former summer cottage, as it would to reproduce it new. "For a relatively small additional cost," says the owner, "we get all the benefits of new construction while preserving the character and feel of our old house."
Cost to remodel: $570,000
Cost to replicate: $588,000
SAVED: For $18,000, the owners gained as much as $60,000 worth of new living space, plus improved safety and energy efficiency.

16. Wait until contractors want your business.
Don't schedule your reno in the height of summer or between September, when the kids go back to school, and Christmas. "That's premium time," explains Lisa Stacholy, owner of LKS Architects, in Atlanta, Georgia. Suppliers tend to be busier, labor scarcer, and deliveries slower. One Virginia–based contractor offers discounts of between 4.5 and 5.5 percent (depending on the overall budget) on projects during his down time, right after the new year.
Cost of a major bathroom remodel in peak season: $25,000
Cost in January: $23,625
SAVED: $1,375

17. Skip the foundation.
If local code allows, you may be able to support a small addition on posts and beams, as you would a deck, explains contractor Dennis Gavin, of Gavin Design–Build, in Media, Pennsylvania.
220–square–foot addition with poured foundation: $40,000
Same–size addition on posts and beams: $35,000
SAVED: $5,000

18. Don't move the kitchen sink.
Or the toilet, if you can avoid it. "That often becomes the biggest part of the plumbing–price increase," says Richard Trethewey, This Old House plumbing and heating expert. If your new layout requires that you move the toilet, use the opportunity to upgrade the pipes at the same time. "That will save you money in the long run," says Richard.
Cost to move toilet more than 3 feet: $500—$1,000
Cost to leave in existing location: $0
SAVED: Up to $1,000
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