Home renovations can be very costly – but they don’t have to break the bank. If you want to spruce up your home and save money plus add value to your real estate, especially if you want to sell. You can have the transformation you’re dreaming about whether it’s your kitchen, bedrooms, living area, bathroom or even the backyard that’s in need of a change.
You Need a Plan
One of the secrets of an economical renovation is careful planning which will ensure each of your projects is finished and looking great. Try to decide on what you want, need, or would die without then add up the cost and stick to that amount. What quickly turns a budget renovation into a nightmare is a blowout. Be consistent. Use similar materials wherever you can and allow your builder to source larger quantities at lower rates, for example. The following tips can help you save money on your renovation plus add value to your real estate:
1. Set Your Standard
To help drive the costs down, research building elements that are standardised – standard sized doors, for instance, are ready-made, mass produced and ready to be installed. The general standard for door heights and widths in Australia is 2040mm x 820mm. Anything outside of these measurements is regarded as custom-made and therefore more expensive. Windows also come in standard sizes, as do benchtops, kitchen cupboards, bathtubs and vanities and you can save heaps by sticking with standard sizes.
2. Going Open-Plan
The most expensive designs are those that are complex, so as long as your structural span sizes aren’t larger than normal, the best way to economise is to choose open plan for the simple reason that you won’t need as many building materials. This will mean getting used to living in an open space, which can mean being more careful when choosing furniture to divide the space up into different sections using flooring or lightweight dividing screens.
3. First the Flooring
When deciding on what and where best to spend your money, it’s wise to look at the main areas that will result in the style you want. Flooring is one of those areas since this is what will set the tone for the space. A good part of your budget ought to be allocated here. Remember, when you’re getting quotes for flooring make sure you ask what the supply, deliver and install cost will be, plus other fees for preparing the floor, taking the old flooring out and removing it, and also if they charge to move the furniture.
4. Choosing the Palette
A renovation budget has no room for fickleness and changeability. These things will blow your budget. Once you have a plan, stick to it unless it is absolutely necessary. To save money you will need to understand the big picture from day one and lock the colour palette in asap. Even if you choose different colours and textures for each area, but be consistent.
5. Know Your Budget
A renovation budget doesn’t need to be a bore; it’s the way you fulfil a dream. A strict budget can help you work out just what you wish to do, and how to do it. Talk to professionals for an accurate idea of the cost and if the renovation is to add value for a sale, then also ask your real estate agent how much you need to do to add value so you can get a feel for the areas where you can save. Proper planning from the start could save you money further along the path and help avert cost surprises. Stay on top of the budget by gathering all your receipts and keep your spreadsheet up to date.
6. Smart Savers
Having a thorough knowledge of your budget before you begin will help you work out how much you’ll need to save up or borrow. There are plenty of ways to start your savings plan including term deposits and some savings accounts offer bonus interest for such things as renovations. If you have money in a savings account you might be best to put it in a term deposit until it’s needed. And remember, even the best-laid renovation plans can go astray so perhaps as a buffer you might consider saving an extra 10 to 20 per cent. Working out your borrowing power can be disheartening, so sit down with your lender to work out a good plan.
7. The Matter of Materials
You might be tempted to veer towards brick to match existing walls, but think about it. Brick is very expensive and a cheaper timber construction can often absorb sound and give you better insulation. The same goes for windows – timber is more expensive than aluminium – and finishes, e.g., a polished concrete floor will save you money. Remember also, the more detailed your project, the more costly. The cheapest way to renovate is a simple, smart design that works with the existing building – this means no huge excavations and using standard details.
8. Plumbing Plans
The secret to saving on your renovation is to stick to the existing bathroom layout if the plumbing is still in good condition. Changing the plumbing is expensive. Chat with your builder about the costs and if you don’t need to put the vanity or toilet in some other location then leave it. If you want another bathroom, and it’s possible, then ovate it above or below the old one to make the plumbing easy peasy.
9. Smart Shopping
For kitchen appliances, it’s better to shop around and if you’re equipping the whole kitchen, ordering them all from the one place will be cheaper if you negotiate a good deal, perhaps via a package. If you’re spending big, you’re the one with the power, so don’t hesitate to ask for a discount. Watch auction sites, such as Gumtree and eBay for tiles and such.
10. Do Your Homework
The bottom line is to be careful; add up how much each of your projects will cost so you don’t end up over budget. Keep track of how much you spend and tweak your ambitions as you go.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and health care. He has used his knowledge and experience to work for clients as diverse as Acacia Pest Control, Cosh Living and Me Bank to help them reach their business goals.