Some people say that remodelling their home is one of the most expensive experiences of their life – but it doesn’t have to be. You just need to stay in budget. While it can be tricky not to overspend on home improvements, it isn’t difficult to keep your available funds and end goal in mind. Here are five key steps to help prevent you going over your budget.
Know what your budget is
It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people dive into renovations without a firm idea of what they’re willing to spend. It’s easy to say “oh, around ten grand” – but even the difference between $10,000 and $11,000 is a lot of money that you might not just have lying around.
The fact of the matter is you can’t stick to a budget if you don’t know what it is. So, the first thing you must do is assess how much money you can realistically afford to spend. Look at your savings, your income and your outgoings and decide what you’re comfortable spending on the project before you agree to any work.
Also think about the quality of finishes you’re after, along with the things you most want to change. Establishing a budget early on will also help your design team suggest the best ideas for your hard-earned dollars and ensure you get the most value for your money.
Prioritise what you actually want changed
Once you’ve worked out how much you can spend and have a good idea of what the renovation will cost you, make sure both figures measure up. There’s no point setting your heart on a project you can’t actually afford to complete. If you can’t do everything you dreamed of for the money you have available, then some prioritising is in order. Make a list, and write down – in order – what you most want to update.
Prioritising means you will learn what you definitely want to do, and what you can afford to lose. It will also allow you to reduce your expectations, drop a few things and focus on the main things you want to change in order to keep your reno in budget.
Let’s say you want to renovate your kitchen. Ideally you’d completely redo everything – but your budget won’t stretch. It isn’t the end of the world. Just concentrate on what you can afford. Maybe just install some new granite benchtops and paint the walls to breathe some new life into the space. Or swap the old cabinets for new ones, to make the room more convenient and modern. You can always do more work in the future, and this way, you can spend a bit more money on the materials too.
Focus on changes with maximum impact
If you want a dramatic change but don’t have the funds, then focus on big cosmetic things rather than structural changes. Major alterations to the layout of your home, such as knocking down walls and reworking the plumbing, are obviously going to cost more than getting a professional painter to pop over and work their magic. You could also consider changing your flooring to make the biggest impact on your chosen space.
The colour of your walls and material of your floor can really set the atmosphere for a room. Plus, it won’t cost you the earth to add some bright colours or patterned wallpaper, as well as rip up and replace your current flooring. Most painting and flooring experts have masses of options for you to choose from when it comes to making a statement in your home.
Break down the costs
One thing you absolutely must remember is that your budget will need to pay for all the labour and materials you need to complete your renovation project. That means you need to split the renovation into what it will actually involve and find out how much each element will cost. Start by writing a detailed list of all the necessary costs, and don’t forget to include things like site clean-up and rubbish removal. You need to think of every single element involved in completing your renovation to enable you to know precisely how much money you’re going to need.
As well as breaking down all the costs, you should think about adding a further 20% to your estimated total cost to cover any unexpected costs that may occur. It isn’t uncommon for remodelling jobs to overrun on time, or problems to present themselves along the way. By factoring a buffer into your budget, you run less risk of going over it when any unaccounted costs arise.
Stick to the plan
Whatever the new plans, make sure you love them! Because if you want to stay within your budget, you’re going to have to resist the temptation to make changes halfway through the project. That includes really doing your homework so that you know exactly how your new space will look before any renovation work gets under way. You can also put all your questions to your builders, plumbers and painters, as well as talk through the whole scope of works to ensure you’re 100 percent happy with all aspects of the project. Sticking to the original plan is a must, as making changes along the way can completely blow your budget and will cost a lot more than the agreed price you started with.
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