Home renovation projects are notorious for being budget blowers. How often have we heard stories of homeowners getting caught out by unexpected costs, or carried away with fancy additions halfway through the project, or just simply seriously underestimating the costs involved?
Whether you are planning a new kitchen, bathroom, a decorating or landscaping project, or even an entire overhaul of your home, here are some tips used by each and every custom homes builder to ensure costs don’t get out of hand.
1. Planning For Your Home Renovation Is Key
The biggest mistake you can make is to not plan carefully, without a doubt. Before you begin any practical work, it’s essential to get a rough idea of how much the project should cost and then use this to set yourself a strict spending limit.
Get quotes from the professionals you would like to recruit the services of, and calculate the total costs of all materials (it’s amazing how quickly the costs of simple materials like screws or adhesives add up).
It’s also important to have a financial buffer zone (contingency budget) for hidden costs that will almost certainly arise during the project, and if they don’t appear, then you have some spare cash to spend on finishing touches if you wish.
Working out your priorities is absolutely key at this stage, too. If an element of the project goes way over budget, where are you happy to make savings instead? What do you refuse to compromise on? Planning for different eventualities ultimately means less stress and a happy bank balance.
2. DIY As Much Of Your Home Renovation As You Can
Labor is a huge cost in any renovation project, so do as much as your time will allow. Don’t be put off by inexperience; many DIY skills can be learned quickly and often just need a little patience and enthusiasm.
Examples of parts of any renovation project that you can easily tackle yourself are the removal of existing fittings; perhaps hanging doors and fitting skirting boards, laying floors and decorating. It all depends on your time, the help available, and your willingness to learn. Often, local colleges run evening classes to learn some of these skills so it’s worth checking out your local providers.
Using professionals for sections of the project can make renovation a lot more affordable. For instance, a fully installed high-end kitchen may be completely unaffordable, but if you are willing to install it yourselves, or even just complete the finishing touches, it may well fit your budget.
There are some areas of renovation where you must always use a professional: in all but the most simple electrical work; anything that involves meddling with gas supply; plastering, which is a highly-skilled art, and similarly, bricklaying. It is probably a good idea to get professional help where your most expensive materials are involved since handling them yourself can be incredibly stressful and very costly if mistakes are made.
3. Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
There are probably lots of areas of your renovation where you can save money, but don’t compromise on quality every time. Chances are you’ve probably heard the expression “buy cheap, buy twice.” If you don’t want to have to replace something too soon, it’s usually best not to pick the cheapest option.
Examples of where this rule applies are paint (cheaper paint often requires more coats or the finish doesn’t last as long), door and cupboard handles which need to take a lot of wear and tear, and cheap adhesives and grouts which usually don’t work as well.
4. Think Classic
It’s easy to get caught in the moment and overspend on fancy fixtures and fittings. Generally speaking, however, it’s best to pick fittings that are simple over anything fussy; they’ll be easier to work with, easier to replace, and will stand the test of time. You can easily give your finished project a modern or fancier twist with more cost-efficient accessories once your project is largely completed.
5. Mix and Match Expensive and Cheap, Old and New
Most of us aspire to the feel of custom built luxury homes, so everybody hopes that the finished results of their home renovation will look and feel high quality, but you can still achieve this without every single material used being top of the range.
Perhaps in a kitchen, for example, you could use a cheaper carcass for your units and add quality doors. For even greater savings, a simple, cheap cupboard door can seem like better quality if you add superior handles or knobs.
Perhaps there are elements of the existing room you can reuse in your renovation. Making sure you replace only what is strictly necessary is a brilliant way to keep your budget in check. Also, consider scouting out bargains in flea markets, charity shops and salvage yards. Often, second-hand pieces have an extra dimension of interest that new, off-the-shelf pieces from a home store couldn’t possibly achieve.
In summary, it’s all about time: careful planning, prioritizing, and a willingness to spend time yourself on the project; either on the practicalities or by seeking out the best deals and bargains. This approach, with a little bit of compromise and flexibility, will ensure that your home renovation project looks amazing and won’t cost you the earth.
Robert Allam has had an understanding of Trendsetter Homes inside and out since he started with the business as a client over 10 years ago. Eventually becoming part of the company as a Sales Consultant, then Office Manager, and now as Finance and Sales Manager, Robert has seen the company grow from a small team of 4 to a professional team of 16 and has guided many clients through the process of developing their dream of a unique, luxury home.