Planning a Renovation Budget

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How to Plan a Renovation Budget That Won’t Break the Bank

Planning a renovation budget that covers all the bases is arguably the most important part of any home renovation. Think of it as like a trusted friend or guide to help you keep track of your costs and who won’t let you overspend.

Check out these five essential steps for planning a renovation budget, and achieve your dream makeover without breaking the bank!

1. What are your renovation goals?

plan renovation budget - kitchen renovation
An integral part of planning your renovation budget is determining your renovation goals. Here are the first three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you want to update just one room, such as the kitchen or bathroom, or several rooms at once?
  2. How extensive do you want the renovation of each room to be? You need to be as specific as possible on which features you want to change or add to the room/s, so you can estimate costs.
  3. What are your must-haves and nice-to-haves? With a bathroom renovation you might decide that painting, tiling and replacing the bathtub are ‘must-haves’, while a Jacuzzi tub, heated towel rail and new cabinets are ‘nice-to-haves’.

Don’t worry if it your list starts getting lengthy, you can always go back and revise your goals once you’ve determined how much everything will cost.

2. What professionals will you need for the renovation?

plan renovation budget - repaint
Once you’ve listed your goals and the features you want to change or add, you’ll need to figure out what professionals you’ll need for the job. Typically home renovations require at least two or three different tradespeople, depending on the scale of the job.

For instance, if you’re wanting to paint, tile and replace a bathtub, you’ll need to hire:

  • a painter
  • a tiler
  • a plumber

For any wiring or structural work you’ll need:

  • an electrician
  • an architect
  • a builder

If you’re unsure of how you want the decor to look, then you may need an interior designer to advise on materials, colour and style.

You may be able to get away with just a handyman if you just want kitchen shelving and a new paint job, or even DIY skills. But jobs that need plumbing and electricity will require a professional with the experience and right equipment.

3. Estimate what your wishlist will cost

plan renovation budget - living room renovation

Now comes the hard part, figuring out what you can afford based on your wishlist.

Kitchens tend to be one of the pricier rooms of the house to renovate, as people typically want to update appliances and fixtures, such as countertops and cabinets, which involves building, plumbing and electrical services.

Bathrooms can also be expensive because of plumbing, tiling and bath/shower updates.

First go through each of the features you want to change or add to the rooms and do some online research to get an estimate of how much things cost.

Keep in mind that fixtures, appliances, finishes and materials will vary in price so you may want to do three types of cost comparison to see what you can get for your money:

  1. Low-end: updating room with cosmetic and economical fixes such as, painting, adding a splashback and/or extra storage. Swapping out hardware like kitchen taps and showerheads or a fixture like a vanity, flooring or lighting.
  2. Middle-end: updating room fixtures, finishes and lighting, adding heated flooring, installing a skylight. Swapping out some appliances for modern but affordable versions.
  3. High-end: total room makeover, new decor, lighting, bespoke or luxury fixtures, fittings and designer brand appliances.

4. Estimate labour costs

Once you have a ballpark renovation budget that you can afford, and have added 20% contingency costs onto it (always important when planning a renovation budget), it’s time to ring around or email the various professionals you will need for quotes.

It’s advisable to call or email three different professionals of every type you need and ask for quotes based on your list of requirements. Be honest about your renovation budget and ask if they can make suggestions for working within it.

The initial contact you make will not only give you an idea of how much they’ll charge for the work you need done, but also how quickly they respond with their quote and the level of detail they supply.

A reputable tradesperson will give you a detailed breakdown of estimated costs for labour and/or materials involved, and any suggestions for working within your renovation budget.

Our agents can provide you with the contact details of trusted contractors as we have a solid connection with reputable professionals in all facets of the real estate business.

5. Review and revise your wishlist

If the quotes come in well within your renovation budget, including the 20% contingency, all you need to do is pick the person you think is best from the lineup – taking into account price, quality and rapport.

If the quotes are above your renovation budget, you’ll need to sit down and consider the following three options:

  1. Scale back some of the features you want
  2. Consider cost saving methods (such as sourcing more affordable or second-hand materials), or
  3. Look at doing some DIY within your expertise range

Check with your professionals to see if they are open to negotiating on price or charging less fees in fall or winter when they’re less busy. You may have to wait until the next season for your renovation but if you’re not in a rush, the amount of money you save could be well worth it.

Want to renovate with selling in mind?

Talk to our experienced REALTORS® about what changes will add value before you plan your renovation budget. We can also offer consultation on whether your situation calls for a renovation or a move to a new house.