Renovations can help you increase your home’s value, give you more space when you need it, or help you to make the best use of existing space. However, if you aren’t careful, it is easy to see a budget go out of the window once you get things started. In this post, we will outline 5 top tips to stay on budget with your renovation whilst getting the improvements you need.
When we start making changes to buildings, big or small, it is easy to get carried away or be pushed off course when we least expect it. This can quickly lead to spiraling costs and leave us trying to find cash we don’t easily have to hand. Fortunately, with these small steps, you can help to mitigate the risk of this happening:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
As with any big decision, it is important to take time to think carefully about exactly what you want. Take a look for yourself at the costs of different products and materials and what sort of labor costs you can expect. Try to plan every detail from material through to color. This will ensure you have an idea of whether you have the necessary funds ready to take on a renovation project at this moment in time.
By planning carefully before you start and looking at a number of options available to you, you’re also less likely to veer off track once things get started. This will help you to be clearer with builders about what you want, helping them to give you more accurate and realistic quotes. Planning carefully ensures that the end results you get are what you wanted at a price you can afford.
Get quotes (not just 1 quote)
“We are our choices” – Jean-Paul Sartre
Once you’ve got your renovation carefully planned out, the next step is to get written quotes from contractors willing to do the work. As with anything, it is good to shop around before making a decision so it is advisable to get at least 3 quotes from reputable contractors you’ve unearthed when planning. Be sure to communicate your needs and expectations clearly to avoid misunderstandings.
By getting more than one you can compare price, but also what exactly is on offer.
As tempting as it can be to choose the lowest price, you also need to think about what is a realistic offer. You should also consider what the standard of the job will be like. Ideally, choose contractors who have done work for people you know so you can see their work first hand and know that they are trustworthy.
Expect the unexpected
“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” – Oscar Wilde
Unfortunately, even with minor renovations, there are often unexpected costs we don’t foresee. For example, your contractor may find unexpected structural problems when they knock through a wall, such as rotting wood that needs replacing. Therefore, it is important to leave space in your budget for the unexpected costs you cannot predict.
A good ballpark figure to aim for is somewhere between 15-25% of your total budget. This is a good amount of headroom to leave yourself for those setbacks that are bound to happen along the way. For bigger projects, you will want to edge towards the higher percentage to ensure you will have it covered. Expecting the unexpected is vital if your renovation project is going to stay on budget.
Track your spending
“We must consult our means rather than our wishes” – George Washington
Solely having a budget doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily keep to it. That’s why it’s important to keep a close and attentive eye on all of your expenditures. A simple spreadsheet monitoring costs will help you keep on top of this. However, it is also important to keep receipts alongside this so that you can check back over costs if life gets in the way of you maintaining your spreadsheet as well as you should.
When you can see the costs totaling up in front of you, you’re much less likely to keep racking them up. If you overspend in comparison to your budget in one area, then you’ll also know you need to underspend somewhere else to make up for this. It will help you recognize when you may need to make a compromise on your ideal choice and prevent costs spiraling out of control.
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work” – Peter Drucker
One way to help keep costs down, or to make-up for going over budget elsewhere, is to pitch in and do some of the work yourself when you can. Most renovation work will have some tasks involved that you can do yourself. Make sure that when you are planning, you are aware of these tasks so that you can save money on the more basic aspects of your project.
Even if you don’t see yourself as particularly handy, there will be suitable tasks. Painting can be a good one, even if you just do the undercoats when it doesn’t matter if there’s splatter. Doing the clean-up for your contractor at the end of the day can also ensure you save on paying in time and money for this, giving them longer to spend on the more challenging aspects of the job.
Taking on a renovation project can be daunting and feel like a big risk. However, with careful planning, research, and getting involved in a hands-on way, it’s easy to get your desired results at a budget you can manage. By following the five steps above, you’ll be well equipped to ensure that you’re prepared even when unexpected costs rear their ugly heads. With these top tips, you’ll find staying on budget with your renovation projects is a lot easier.