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How to save money on your home renovation

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Mon 01 Apr 2019

How to save money on your home renovation

Whether your budget is big or small, the cost of a home renovation can quickly get out of control, so we’ve put together a tick list to help keep you on track and on budget!

Set a budget and stick to it
If you’re planning to do work on your home, start with an amount that you’re able to spend before you begin making design choices. Then you can price fixtures and materials and begin to get a grasp on what will work with your budget and what won’t.

Create a spreadsheet and simply add everything you can think of:
  • Flooring
  • Roof
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Paint or wallpaper
  • Fixtures such as worktops, shelves, cupboards
  • Fittings for the rooms you are renovating
  • Electrics and electrical fittings
  • Tiles and grout
  • Appliances
  • Labour & materials

Are there any areas which are eating into your budget?  Take a look and try to make adjustments by choosing less expensive materials or cutting out items altogether.  When you make a budget for your project, it’s a good idea to allow for unexpected expenses, keep a reserve fund of at least 10% of your budget for flexibility.  

DIY
You may not be able to plaster the walls, or re-wire the electrics, but there are some things you can do to prepare your space before the building crew arrives.  You’re probably paying the contractors by the hour (although, perhaps when negotiating, you may be best to consider a job price rather than an hourly rate) so if you can clear the space, remove old fittings and prepare surfaces then you’re one step ahead.  If you have moderate DIY skills, why not have a go at smaller tasks.  Nowadays you can watch anything on YouTube to give you a guide on how to do things and if you have the availability to learn a new skill, and take your time to do it right, then you only need the determination to give it a go. You can rent most DIY tools from a local hire plant store and knowing you have to return the items on a certain date is a real incentive to get the job done.   If you’re planning to do a lot of the work yourself make sure that you do not fall foul of the law by carrying out works you need a qualification or a license for. If you are skilled enough for a job like tearing down walls and installing load-bearing beams, be sure to get the work checked by the Local Planning Officer. 

Reuse Materials
One of the best ways to save yourself money is to reuse items you already have, such as cabinet carcasses.  You can save a lot of money by refacing doors to change the style or by leaving the cabinet body in place and just changing the doors.  Why not try sanding down old doors and repainting them in a new colour, adding a chalk paint & wax treatment such as Annie Sloane’s. Alternatively, you can buy visit the local salvage yards and pick up some amazing fixtures and fittings or check out Facebook Marketplace or buy/sell/trade websites where you may just come across someone selling perfectly fine items that will save you a tonne of money. Hunting for old or salvage materials can be a lot of fun and can also add character to your project. Plus, you’re helping the planet in the process of saving money!

Sell Anything You’re Not Using
Old kitchen cabinets, appliances, doors, hardware, light fittings and lots of other materials might be of interest to someone else scavenging for materials, but if nobody wants your junk, you can sell metal items to scrapyards in exchange for cash. 

Cash, not Loan
Paying for your project with your savings rather than taking out a loan, or worse, putting items on a credit card, will save you a significant amount of money in interest. If you’re renovating in order to sell your home, it might make sense financially to take out a loan when you know there will be a return on your investment and the loan will be paid off quickly. If you don’t have the savings it is best to begin thinking about ways you can trim your household budget to save money for your project.

Timing
If you have the money in a savings account, it can be tempting to gut and renovate your home all at once, but if you rush things, you’ll most likely regret some of the choices you make. Why not start off with one or two rooms and finish those before moving on to other areas? If you prioritize the most intensive parts of the project and do them first it will stop the anxiety over having major works to diarise at some future point.  Also, if you force yourself to finish one project before beginning another, you won’t have to live in a house full of mess with no room to escape to. Planning a project is half the fun, so take your time, consider every detail, and you won’t waste time and money later when you’re unsure of your decisions.  Also, worth considering putting the biggest projects into the diary to coincide with ‘sales’ for certain big-ticket items, such as ‘Black Friday’ for electronics and power tools, Boxing Day Sales for lounge & bedroom items and flooring, and the end of Summer for outdoor furniture and lawn care items or conservatory furniture! Research the best time to make your purchase, and don’t let your impatience steer you away from getting a good deal. 

Finally
When you are house hunting for a fixer-upper, look out for moisture issues, foundation concerns, and bug infestation. These are the top three nightmares where renovation budgets are concerned. Make sure that you consider other minimal fees involved in renovation such as building permits, or even getting permission from a conservation society. You may not be allowed to make the changes you want, so be aware of your limitations before you begin.

If you are ready to look, check out this beautiful renovation project:
https://www.willsandsmerdon.co.uk/properties/12288157/sales
Cranmore Lane, West Horlsey OIEO £500,000