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The Five Golden Rules to Keeping Your Renovation on Budget


Home renovation projects often go over budget. A luxury item appeals to us, and many of us may not have an idea of how much our dream renovations will cost. But with the right strategies in place, you can keep your renovation on budget.

5 Ways to Keep your Renovation on Budget

1. Create a Clear, Comprehensive Plan

As with any major project, a plan can tell you where you’re going and help you stay on track. The best plans are informed plans, so make sure you conduct careful and thorough research before launching into your renovation project. Your plan should identify the work you want to do and the materials you want to use to achieve it. It should also note which work you think you could complete yourself and the work you plan on outsourcing. Don’t forget to note what you want to achieve with your renovation. These notes will help you evaluate whether your finished job is successful.

If you know people who have undertaken a similar renovation project, ask them to look over your plan. They may identify missing steps you didn’t consider, which could exceed your budget if they’re overlooked. They may also offer feedback about your chosen materials and recommend tradespeople who did great work for them. Take their advice, and make any adjustments to your plan based on their experiences.

Once you have your plan, stick to it when possible. Adding new jobs because they seem like a good idea at the time will cause you to exceed your renovation budget.

2. Write Out a Budget

budget renovation

Once you know what you want to do, calculate how much the work should cost. Your budget should contain a detailed, itemized list of everything you need to buy and the expected costs of any work from contractors.

You can’t be too thorough with your budget. Listing each item individually will reduce the risk of overlooking any expense and help you resist splurging on luxury items you haven’t accounted for. No item is too small for a place on your budget, so remember to include all the little details such as nails, glues, and screws. While they’re relatively inexpensive, several small building expenses can quickly add up.

Remember that custom fixtures with special features will always cost more than items from the shelves of brick-and-mortar and online home stores. Weigh up the costs and decide what items are worth a surcharge, if any.

Accuracy matters when preparing a usable budget. Visit your favorite building supplies store and price the items you need. Get several quotes from tradespeople to determine how much their work will cost. Underestimating the costs of materials and labor is one of the key reasons renovation projects go over budget.

When undergoing any renovation project, plan for the unexpected. Once you start working, you may discover leaks, mold, termites, asbestos, or other expensive problems. A contingency fund will make sure your renovation can continue no matter what problem arises. Home renovation experts suggest reserving a contingency fund equal to 20 percent of your total budget for emergencies. This money should be used for real emergencies. Seeing an elegant backsplash you have to have is no reason to dip into your contingency money.

If you don’t need your contingency budget, that’s great. You may take a trip or put the money toward your next renovation project. But if you do find yourself knee-deep in a renovation crisis, you’ll be thankful you reserved the money you need to bail you out.

3. Hire a Building Professional

contractor handshakes

Completing your own renovations may seem like the most budget-friendly choice, as you’re only responsible for the raw materials, not the labor. However, in some cases, enlisting professional help can prevent a serious budget overspending.

Building professionals have extensive experience in renovation jobs like yours. They’ll work much more efficiently and more accurately than you can. All too often inexperienced DIYers make mistakes that end up costing them more money to correct. Should the unexpected arise during your renovations, your building professional can troubleshoot the best, most budget-friendly solution.

Performing simple renovation tasks yourself while hiring pros for the most difficult jobs, such as wiring your room for electricity and installing your plumbing, should help you minimize your costs. Make sure you choose someone experienced in renovations like yours for the best results. The BuildDirect Pro builder database is a great resource for finding reliable building contractors in your area. You can easily connect with trusted tradespeople and get a price estimate on your renovations.

4. Consider Financing


All too often homeowners on tight renovation budgets make the wrong choices because they’re trying to save money. What saves you money now may eventually cost you more in the long run. Obtaining finance for your renovation job can give you the breathing room you need to make the right renovation decisions and avoid cutting corners.

BuildDirect’s new partnership with Affirm provides an easy alternative to traditional bank loans. Simply select Affirm as your payment option when purchasing building materials on the BuildDirect website. Unlike banks, Affirm doesn’t charge service fees, prepayment fees, or late fees, so it’s a great financing option when you’re renovating on a budget. You can also choose your preferred loan period of either six, 12, or 18 months, and see instantly how much total interest you’ll pay so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

5. Be Patient

patient poodle

Patience is a virtue for renovators working to a budget. If you get impatient and look for quick results, you’re likely to make impulsive decisions that don’t yield the best results. Good things take time, so be prepared to wait for what you want. When you’re working on a plan, you should feel confident in the decisions you’ve made and proceed with no regrets. Even if the result takes more time than you expect, you should feel sure the work will all be worth it in the end.

Renovation jobs are notorious for budget overages, but with some clear strategies in place, you shouldn’t become a statistic. Carefully constructed plans and the willpower to stick to them will make sure your renovation stays on budget.

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