Kevin McCloud, can you hear us? Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen, then? Still silence. How about Piers Taylor? Hello?
If, like us, you’re not blessed with having a home renovation expert on speed dial, then fear not; the layperson can still make serious savings without having to sacrifice style and finesse during their next domestic project. All it takes is assiduous planning, meticulous budgeting, a fair amount of accurate prediction, a do-it-yourself sensibility and an unwavering focus on seeking value at every hammer of the nail.
We’ve done the legwork, spoken to the experts, and narrowed it down to five key tenets of thrifty residential renovation for you; here are 5 insider tips on simple ways to save money on your next home renovation.
DO DILIGENT RESEARCH BEFORE DEVISING YOUR BUDGET
Before you dive headfirst into the renovation process, it’s vital you take some time to conduct research and develop a meticulous budget. Don’t simply settle on guestimates and take the first costing you receive as gospel; shop around so that you have a realistic idea of costs. You can do this, quite simply, by looking at local hardware shops and calculating the prices of things you need. Additionally, reach out to local contractors for quotes. Be sure to look at multiple options and do some cost comparison calculations, and for heaven’s sake, do not rush this stage. As your mother used to say, proper planning prevents poor performance. She might just have been on to something.
You can develop a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your outgoings and reallocate funds as the project develops. Remember to add room in your budget for contingency planning, as unexpected costs are common in a renovation project.
Setting and sticking to a budget gives you a solid framework to save and plan for your project. By planning out the prices, you’re less likely to spend recklessly and will save money in the long run.
SECOND GUESS THOSE INEVITABLE HIDDEN COSTS
Did someone mention hidden costs? Yep, it’s a tale as old as time itself; hidden costs plague every home development and renovation project, and are just as certain in life as death and taxes. But just because they’re unexpected doesn’t mean they can’t be accounted for in your initial budget.
We’ve all seen those Grand Designs episodes when an ambitious amateur attempts to build their dream home. And time and time again these budding architects come across the same problem – escalating costs. While we can all predict this eventuality from the sofa, being objective can be tough with your head under a hard hat and your knees deep in rubble.
Yep, hidden costs are one of the biggest hurdles to completing home renovations successfully. So, always add a recommended minimum contingency of 15% for unforeseen problems, overruns and even inflation.
On top of that, try to second guess what areas of the project are most susceptible to the threat of hidden costs. For example, more often than not, materials which are particularly prone to price fluctuation account for the largest hidden cost in a renovation project. Accordingly, do your research about both local and international prices and keep your eye on the markets.
DIY WHENEVER POSSIBLE
One of the most significant costs (and another huge contributor to those much-feared hidden ones) associated with home renovation projects is labour. As such, you can dramatically slash your budget by taking a DIY approach whenever possible.
This is particularly true for furniture, which you should endeavour to be taking into your own hands. For example, investing in some of the best online cabinets, tables, chairs stools and anything else manageable, and assembling them yourself rather than paying to have them professionally installed, will save you money on your budget. Every little helps, as they say.
What’s more, if you’re fairly handy in the home setting, then replacing toilets and faucets yourself rather than hiring a plumber is another great way to save. Watch online tutorials, get your hands a little dirty, and learn to lay your own tile, install your own trim, and paint your own walls, and you may never lok back.
Of course, there will always be tasks that should be delegated to a professional. Any time you’re dealing with wiring and electricity, it’s well worth the expense to have an electrician handle the work. Nuanced tasks like hanging and mudding drywall should be outsourced to someone who has experience with those tasks, as well as issues involving entry points to your home. If not, your property’s security may be compromised. As the Garage Door Guru in Whitestone, NY cautions, ”if you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t pay too much attention to the most important component of this space: the door”. But really, this is one area which shouldn’t be forgotten due to financial concerns.
When it comes to safety and value, spending money on professional help will save you money later.
PLAY THE LONG GAME
The longer you project for your home renovation completion timeline, the more money you’ll be able to save. Generally speaking, there’s no need to rush a home renovation project, so play the long game for a thrifty finish. Indeed, you can start preparing now for a kitchen remodel that you won’t start for another year, or begin laying the groundwork for a bathroom retiling several months in advance. By extending your timeline, you give yourself time to wait for sales, pick up discontinued items, and save money or pay as you go.
Consider shopping ahead of time and storing bits and pieces for later rather than putting everything on credit. Use tax refunds and unexpected sources of income to fund your project. Taking a slow and steady approach will prevent interest payments and impulse purchases.
If you choose to buy things well in advance, be sure to pick up extra supplies for things like tile and paint. One of the challenges of buying in advance is that if an item gets discontinued, you may be out of luck if you run out before the project is complete.
PRACTICE A BALANCED APPROACH
When it comes to home renovation projects, there are areas to spend and areas to save. It makes sense to cut costs on certain aspects of the home remodel while investing in others. Investing in areas that will improve the resale value of the home and have the most potential for a high return on investment is key.
Take the kitchen, for example. Many homeowners doing renovations in a kitchen make the mistake of creating a luxury space that doesn’t always fit the rest of the home. This practice stems from the fact that kitchens tend to have the highest resale value. However, overdoing it can actually deter buyers from selecting your home, as such focus on one room can actually make the rest of the home feel unappointed and neglected in comparison. A more balanced furnishing of the home as a whole will generate more resale value than having one luxurious room.