Home renovation on a budget may seem impossible. Can you really afford your deepest desires? Will the estimates be out of control? Will you and your family get the changes that you all truly want? By taking time to really plan out your dream home renovation, you’ll be able to get a good idea of what you can afford. Then, by communicating closely with your contractor, and by having the willingness to scale back on high-ticket items or finishes, you’ll be able to stay on budget. Let’s get dreaming!
You can’t always get what you want, but you may as well dream big. You can always scale back your vision later on. In the Houzz.com series of articles titled, How to Refine Your Renovation Vision to Fit Your Budget? by Erin Carlyle, Carlyle writes, “I think it’s good to share with the architect the pie-in-the-sky ideas,’ says Jon Dick of Archaeo Architects in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who has been practicing for 30 years and has worked on more than 100 homes. The architect may not incorporate them, but ‘there might be one nugget of an idea that might inform the whole project.'” Don’t be afraid to express to your home designer and builder what you really want. Give him or her photos you’ve clipped from magazines or photos you’ve taken of model houses with elements you adored. They may come up with ideas you could have never imagined; ideas that were better than you could have ever hoped for.
If you are working with both, have your designer and architect meet face-to-face. Their communication now could solve headaches and unforeseen issues later on, issues that may not only cost you time but tear through your home renovation budget like a tornado.
Evaluate the Project’s Scope
Next, it’s important to give measurements and plans to contractors who can give you a cost estimate. Once you’ve scoped out a few contractors’ estimates, looked at examples of their work, and researched their reputations, decide on who you’ll hire. Hash out details with the contractor you’ve chosen so that you can really get a full scope of the project’s costs.
HouseLogic.com suggests adding a “15% to 20% contingency for the unforseen problems and changes that occur on every project.” Yes, that means you’ll need more money to account for the unknown, but life likes to throw punches. However, that extra percentage should be just the cushion you need to make it likely you’ll stay on budget. (Your future self will approve!)
Needs v. Wants
You may long for marble countertops, but does your budget align with that desire? Consider scaling back to laminate or a material that can be stamped or painted to look like marble. Do you want new appliances, but all of yours are currently in working order? You may just have to keep the old, and plan on replacing any only when they completely wear out.
Again, open a dialogue with your contractor from the project’s beginning. Any home renovation budget will probably have to be slightly tweaked as plans shape and even later when the work begins, but preparation and planning will mean you’re much less likely to exhaust your budget. Plus, planning will help you get just what you want.
It’s a give and take situation, but when you have control over your home renovation budget, you’ll feel that your home renovation project has definitely been worth it. There will be no need to panic or have regrets, because you’ll know exactly what you can afford and prevent major surprises along the way.
Alair Homes works with each client to help make their home renovations financially smart ones. We’ll put you in control of the budget and guide you through the process of making smart decisions. Contact us to discuss your project during a complimentary, no obligation consultation.