How to Budget for Home Improvements


It’s easy to work out what you want in your next home renovation; it’s working out whether you can afford it or not that’s the tricky part. You can get a handle on it, though, if you follow these steps and always have an eye on a discount!

Work out a rough estimate

You should start off by calculating how much your dream kitchen will cost you, as well as working out how affordable it is for you. Use this handy budget calculator here to pin down costs in black and white. You’ll no doubt be working out your estimate with the help of a contractor, so you should get an accurate idea.

Work out how much you actually have to spend

Once you’ve got a sensible estimate or two, you can start to think about how you’re going to pay for it. Even if you have the ready cash, you don’t want to be throwing away money when you could save a few thousand here and there. Most people pay for their renovations by either taking out a home improvement loan or releasing equity from their property. You’ll have a set amount from this, plus any little extras that you can add from your monthly salary. Just work with the set amount, though – anything else is for little extras.

Get your quotes

To get accurate quotes from at least three contractors, make sure you have all your details, right down to the work surface colour and material. If you present these details to each contractor, you’ll be seeing their prices for the same items.

Choose at least three contractors, preferably from recommendations from friends and family. Then you can ask to see their recent projects, look at references and also check out online reviews – both by peers and customers. Sometimes, it’s not about the money; you might just click with a particular team and so not mind paying a few hundred more for the job. Keep an open mind here.

Don’t forget the contingency money

With any renovation project, you can guarantee that there’ll be some unforeseen hitch or expense. You might not be able to get the granite worktops you chose so you have no choice but to go for the slightly more expensive type you initially saw. Add on 15% to your total quote and see if it’s still affordable; if not, you’ll need to make some cutbacks.

Get your priorities in order and look for ways to save money

If you’re at the limit of your budget, look for ways to shave off some of the costs. There’ll be some appliances or materials that are must-haves and some that can be swapped for cheaper versions. Your contractor will have some good ideas and might have some good supplier contacts.

Examples of downgrading to save money include things like buying your third choice of granite or keeping hold of the old oven for a few more months. You can always install a new one later.

You can also buy your materials and fixtures yourself, or visit local showrooms to see if they have ex-display sinks, counters and so on for sale. If you buy your own items, remember to keep your contractor in the loop!

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