How to stay on budget with your home renovations

Posted on Aug. 20, 2015 by Canada Post in smartmoves

Great renovations begin with a vision and clear plans! Here are some great ways to reduce your costs and manage your budget. Keep these tips in mind to help you stay on track.

How to choose a contractor

Chances are, you’ll need to hire someone to help you with your home renovations. Want to make sure you’ve selected the right person for the job? Here’s how to cover all your bases beforehand:

  • Ask the contractor to create a very detailed estimate of costs in writing – they should include materials, labour, and any extra fees.
  • Make sure your contract is specific about payment schedules, delivery dates for completing different stages, the exact name and amount of materials, and if they plan on subcontracting any of the work.
  • Ask for 3 references from each contractor, and contact at least 3 different contractors to compare estimates.
  • Your contractor should be licensed, insured, and bonded.

Plan for expenses

No matter how hard you plan, most projects will go over budget. Plan for an extra 10-20% cost overrun to your project. Set up a spreadsheet and record all of your spending-– this will help you know right away if your budget is on track.

Don’t forget about the ‘hidden’ costs – staying at a hotel, or renting an alternative place to live, eating take-out food more often, even extra gas money for driving around to source materials. There’s also city permits, extra taxes, insurance, and inspection fees.

Talk to the experts

Don’t be afraid to speak with other construction companies, home renovation store staff, and other professionals to get an idea of how to budget your costs. Speak to your financial advisor – you’ll want to know how much value your reno will add to your home. You’ll also need to know what kind of financing options are available for the work you want to do, and how to best pay for it.

Don’t be afraid to be frugal

Before you start, see where you can scale back on your project. Sometimes a ‘must have’ turns out to be an optional item. Looking for unique pieces? Before you shell out the big bucks buying new, see if you can refurbish the furniture or pieces you already have. Or, check out your local online want ads, vintage stores, or consignment for gently used items.

Get your hands dirty!

You may not be a construction expert, but there are some easy ways to cut your labour costs. Instead of paying for someone else to do it, you can tidy up the construction area and keep it clean. You can pick up supplies instead of having your contractor do it, or even arrange for the supplies to be delivered and ready before they arrive.

There are also a few smaller jobs you can try – such as painting the walls yourself, learning to lay down tile, or installing the small finishes like doorknobs and cupboard handles.

Have you ever done a home renovation project? How did it go? What advice can you give to help stay on budget? Share your suggestions below:

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