We’ve all heard the horror stories of seemingly simple renovations that end up turning homes into money pits. Often leaving home owners, stressed, confused and broke.
So why do things go sideways so often? And what can you do to prevent your next home reno from going way over budget?
These money saving tips will help you maximize your investment and minimize the amount of money you spend remodelling your home!
If you are only planning to renovate a very small space (like a bathroom, bedroom, laundry room or small basement), you’ve probably had a hard time finding a good contractor to take on the work. That’s because small jobs tend to be inefficient, and the contractor may even spend more time getting to the job than actually doing the billable work. So if a trade can only do a couple of hours work and then has to wait to let things dry or set before moving on to the next task, the day is pretty much shot for him (or her).
BIG MONEY SAVING TIP: Talk to your neighbours to see if they are planning any projects in their homes before you start looking for contractors. If a trade can do two jobs at the same time, they are more likely to take on smaller projects and bounce between the two to fill the day!
This is often a touchy subject with most contractors and rightly so. If the only tools in your tool box are a hammer and screwdriver… you are not a skilled tradesperson!
But don’t despair there are several tasks that you can help out with, that, in the long run will save you money. Develop a relationship with your trades and ask if there are any little tasks that you can do in the evening to help out. Menial jobs like cleaning, scraping floors, and preparing a space for the next days work don’t require a lot of skill but do require time.
WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Contractors typically estimate a job based on the amount of time they think it will take, and clean up is always included in that price. So any time that you invest will likely save you money in the end. Just make sure to talk to your contractor before doing any work to ensure that you helping instead of hindering!
BIG MONEY SAVING TIP: Make sure the area that you are remodelling is completely clear of your personal belongings. Even if things are neatly piled in the centre of the room they are still an obstacle to work around, and that costs time. Find a lesser used space elsewhere in your home to use as temporary storage, or if need be rent a storage space, you’ll be glad you did!
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your new reno look like a million bucks. Simply start by choosing a few key items that’ll be focal points in your new design; splurge on those and be conservative with the rest. Depending on the space items like fireplaces, lighting fixtures, tiles can be fantastic focal points. Choosing a few big-impact elements for a room will command attention and draw focus away from the budget friendly aspects of the space, giving the illusion that you spent more than you actually did!
MONEY SAVING TIP: Begin with the end in mind. Having a decorating plan in place before any work starts gives you the ability to see the overall picture and choose your focal points from wisely. So put on your decorator hat and try to visualize what the space will look like when the reno’s done.. What is the first thing you see? Is that a feature of the room? Do you want it to be?
If you’re having troubles visualizing consider having 3-D drawings done up so that you’ll be able to identify what you love and don’t love about the room before you incur any unnecessary expenses. For as little as $447 you can get complete 3-D drawings, a virtual tour and an e-decorating plan done up for your room.
Before the first swing of a hammer have every last detail in place. Have all of your finishing details like appliances, light fixtures, stereo systems, plumbing fixtures… absolutely everything on-site and ready to go. AND, never, ever ever rely on spec sheets.
Most trades people want to do a good job for you and that means making sure that everything is going to fit perfectly. So whenever there is a question on size or placement of an item, if it’s readily available all they have to do is take a quick measurement. But, if they have to track you down to get an answer, commit to a finishing detail or find a size, time is wasted.. and time is money.
BIG MONEY SAVING TIP: Even though most appliances, light fixtures or plumbing fixtures publish finished measurements on documents called spec sheets DON”T rely on these if you are planning a perfect fit. Often essential items are not accounted for in these measurements. I have no idea why this happens but I can tell you from experience that it happens, and it happens a lot! So if something doesn’t fit and needs to be re-built or modified you will incur additional expenses for time and likely materials. More often than not it is these unfortunate circumstances that make reno costs skyrocket, and no one wants that!
Last minute decisions or changes are exorbitantly expensive, in fact this could be the most expensive aspect of your renovation. On average most last minute changes will cost 3 times more than the original budget; $ to build it the first time, $$ to demolish the work and $$$ to build it again to the new specifications. This applies to everything from wall locations and light fixtures, to cabinets and paint colors, and everything in between.
BIG MOENY SAVING TIP: Hire a decorator, okay, I know that may seem like a shameless plug but a good decorator will likely save you more money than the cost of their fees. A good decorator will take the time to figure out what you want, decipher your ramblings and find a way to make your home, your dream home. But it doesn’t stop there, a good decorator is also responsible for making sure that everything is going to work and fit so that there are no costly… ooop’s. If you’re looking for a budget friendly option consider an e-decorating service, for as little as $297 you can have the confidence of knowing that all the money you spend will get you what you want in the end!
SHOP FOR BARGAINS
There are so many ways to buy discounted top quality items these days, it may take a little more leg work but the savings can be substantial. When planning your renovation visit local specialty supply stores (like lighting, plumbing and flooring) and ask if there are any clearance items that you could take a look at. Often there are unclaimed special order or floor models tucked away in dusty corners that can be bought for a steal of a deal. Although the best items are typically at stores that just sell lighting, plumbing, flooring, etc. you may also get lucky at general home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes.
BIG MONEY SAVING TIP: Surf for deals. You can often find great prices for top quality items online; e-bay, craigslist and online retailers are a great place to start your search.
BONUS MONEY SAVING TIP: Your contractor may also be able to get you great pricing, sometimes, distributers will give contractors volume discounts or loyalty incentives. So before you buy anything ask your contractor to give you a price on the model you’re interested in, you might be pleasantly surprised!
Home Renovations can be thrilling and immensely rewarding if you invest a little bit of time up front creating a decorating plan. Using these money saving tips and setting yourself up for success in the initial phases can keep your dream reno project from becoming a nightmare!
Are you planning on renovating your Basement? Kitchen? Bedroom? Bathroom? Living Room? Media Room? or Family Room?
Do you have any home renovation money saving tips?
I invite you to share your stories and/or tips in the comment section below so that other readers can benefit from your experiences.