Keep Your Renovation Budget in CheckPosted by: Kat Wiseman
Home renovation shows are exciting: with some tough love and a small army of contractors, a heroic host transforms a problem home beyond recognition in almost no time at all. While we all know what we see on TV isn't always real, a steady diet of home renovation shows over the last decade or so has changed our expectations.
If you're planning on renovating your home, the first place to start is your budget. Carefully preparing your budgeting ahead of time will help you lay out the entire plan for your renovation while keeping you in check every step of the way. So whether you're planning a new kitchen or bathroom project, or even an entire home overhaul, here are some tips to ensure costs don't get out of hand.
Planning is Key
Without a doubt, the biggest mistake you can make during a home renovation is not planning carefully. Without a cohesive plan, everything can - and often does - fall apart. So before you begin any practical work, get a rough idea of how much your project should cost and use this number to set a strict spending limit for yourself.
This is also your chance to get quotes from professionals you'd like to recruit, calculate the total cost of all materials, and work out your priorities. For example, if an element of your project goes way over budget, where are you happy to make up the difference? What do you refuse to compromise on?
Take time to plan for hidden costs by instating a contingency budget, or "financial buffer zone." If no hidden costs show up, you've got some spare cash to spend on finishing touches!
DIY as Much as You Can
One of the biggest costs of any renovation project is labor, so try to do as much as you're able to on your own. And don't let inexperience stand in the way! Many DIY skills can be learned quickly; they often just need a little patience and enthusiasm. Sometimes, even local colleges will run evening classes to learn some of these skills, so it's worth checking out your local providers.
Here are a few examples of parts of any renovation project you can easily tackle yourself:
- Removal of existing fittings
- Hanging doors and fitting skirting boards
- Laying floors
On the other hand, however, there are some areas of renovation that a professional should always handle:
- All but the most simple electrical work
- Anything that involves messing with the gas supply
- Plastering and bricklaying
It's also a good idea to get professional help with your most expensive materials since handling them yourself can be stressful and potentially costly.
"Buy Cheap, Buy Twice"
It's a common enough expression, but very true. While there are plenty of areas of your renovation where you can save money, don't compromise on quality every time. If you don't want to replace something too soon, it's usually best not to pick the cheapest option. Cheaper paint, for example, often requires more coats or the finish doesn't last as long, so it's smarter to opt for higher quality.
Keep it Classic
It's easy to get caught up in the moment and overspend on fancy fixtures and fittings, especially when you have some wiggle room in your budget. However, it's best to pick fittings that are simple and will stand the test of time. Simple fixtures are easier to work with and easier to replace if needed. And you can easily give your finished project a fancier twist with more cost-efficient accessories.
Consider a Skylight
When you're planning your budget, consider installing a skylight! It serves as both a light source and a way to easily ventilate your home with fresh air. Since skylights can help you regulate air flow and temperature in your house, you're able to rely less on heating and air conditioning and lower your utility bill all in one. And if you opt for an environmentally-friendly solar-powered skylight, your product cost and installation could be eligible for a 30% federal tax credit!
So, to sum up: keeping your home renovation budget in check is all about careful planning, prioritizing, and a willingness to DIY parts of your project. This approach, with a little bit of compromise and flexibility, will ensure your home renovation project looks incredible without breaking the bank.