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How to Cut Costs On Home Renovation

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Home improvement can be expensive, with many people running over their initial budget. Don’t spend money unnecessarily; staying organised is key. Here’s a handy guide with some tips and hacks for how to cut costs on home renovation. 

How to cut renovation costs

  1. Have a plan
  2. Assess value-add
  3. Consider future-proofing
  4. Set a budget
  5. Decide whether to DIY
  6. Find the right professionals
  7. Work with what you have
  8. Agree a timescale
  9. Consider a party wall agreement
  10. Prepare for unforeseen problems
  11. Cut refuse disposal costs
  12. Keep track of your budget
  13. Add luxury at a low cost
  14. Buy ex-display
  15. Consider upcycling
  16. Keep it simple
  17. Reduce plumbing costs
  18. Sell things you don’t use

#1 – Have a plan 

Good planning is essential, whether it’s a major home renovation or a smaller job. You need to be clear on exactly what you want, and how much value it will add to your home

There are many reasons to tackle a renovation project, from creating more space to giving it modern decor. You should be clear on the why as well as the what before going any further. 

Staying organised throughout is key, so start as you mean to go on.

#2 – Assess value-add 

As mentioned, a big reason for tackling a home improvement project is to add value to your home. This is especially important if you’re looking to sell up for a higher profit in the near future. 

Consider what buyers want; home improvement trends change, so speaking to estate agents to get a feel for what people are looking for can be a great place to start. 

After the pandemic, many people are looking for more space – including outside. So, giving the garden the same attention you would the inside might be a good idea. 

#3 – Consider future-proofing

If your plan isn’t to sell, consider longevity. Will your home meet your needs in, say, 5 years’ time? Creating more space, e.g. a loft conversion, can help make sure you don’t outgrow your property. 

Also, bear in mind that certain wallpaper and paint trends date quickly, so it’s advisable to pick a more neutral colour scheme. 

Ways to future-proof your home include:

#4 – Set a budget

Budgeting for home improvements is absolutely key. Many projects go wildly over-budget, so you need to set one and stick to it. Micromanage every penny that goes in and comes out: keep a tight handle on things. The cost of your renovation will depend on property size, type, and more.

There are many ways to pay for your project, including your savings or credit cards. Home renovation loans work well for many, and often provide favourable interest rates. Do your research into what the right option is for you. 

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#5 – Decide whether to DIY

A good rule of thumb can be to DIY the things you can and pay for the things you can’t. To keep costs down you may well be tempted to do the whole project yourself. However, is that necessarily the best idea?

Depending on the size and scale of your project, you may well need an architect to ensure everything goes to plan.

Also, dodgy finishings or even poor paintwork can be expensive to fix, or may even knock some value off your property.

If you do decide to DIY, renting or borrowing certain power tools will usually be much cheaper.

#6 – Find the right professionals

It’s a good idea to find local tradespeople, with experience with your type of property and the job you require: this should save money and time. Always read reviews to get a feel for whether they’re up to the task. They’ll also be able to advise on the best time of year for renovation works.

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#7 – Work with what you have

It can be tempting to strip everything and start from scratch. However, you’re not necessarily guaranteed to get a better finish this way, nor is it always the most cost-effective solution. 

For example, you don’t have to rip out all the units if you’re renovating your kitchen. Replacing the handles, taps and worktops can go a long way, without breaking the bank. 

Assess the layout of your home and rooms you’re looking to renovate. Are you happy with it? Could you do more with the space? There are many clever storage solutions and ideas for small rooms that can make spaces feel bigger, without you having to start from scratch or knock down walls. For example, use height and unused space (e.g. the back of the door) to your advantage!

#8 – Agree a timescale

When it comes to budgeting and timescales, be realistic but firm. The longer a project runs on for, the more it will likely cost you. 

Agree a workable timescale with any professional you get on board, have regular meetings and don’t be afraid to query things. Poor organisation costs money, so stay on top of things. 

If you’re project managing the renovation yourself, this means staying one step ahead; mitigating against problems before they occur. Good management skills and knowledge of the building process will be key. 

#9 – Consider a party wall agreement

If you have a good relationship with a neighbour, and can convince them to carry out a similar project at the same time, such as extending along a shared party wall, you could enter a party wall agreement.

This would help you save money as you’d be sharing certain costs, e.g. materials. 

#10 – Prepare for unforeseen problems

Failing to plan is planning to fail! Ensure your spec is as detailed as possible, or you run the risk of incurring ‘hidden’ costs. 

Also, pay attention to ‘unforeseen’ issues. Things such as drainage, plumbing and roofing can all cause problems that may be expensive to fix and lead to delays. Look closely at every detail, leaving no stone unturned. From plug sockets to light switches, make sure everything is where you want it to be.

#11 – Cut refuse disposal costs

Depending on the scale of your project, you may generate a large amount of waste and refuse. You may not have to pay for refuse at the tip, often it’s only commercial vehicles that do. 

Considering reusing soil for landscaping, as landfill can be expensive. In most cases, clean rubble and topsoil are the cheapest to dispose of.

#12 – Keep track of your budget 

Keeping changes to a minimum should help avoid extra costs. However, you should also make sure you have a tight handle on every pound being spent. Budget not just for the whole project, but all the different elements.

For example, keep a spreadsheet of the overall project, breaking it down into parts e.g.  ‘appliances’, ‘electrics’, ‘decor’. Maintain a running tally of how much is being spent and where – but budget for at least a 10% overspend. This contingency can help in the case of unforeseen costs. Don’t run out of money before the project ends!

#13 – Add luxury at a low cost 

It’s easy to add elements of luxury without breaking the bank; spending less is about spending right.

For example, in the kitchen, go for more affordable units but add a feel of luxury by choosing good-quality work surfaces.

Or, in the bathroom, choose beautiful taps alongside a good-value three-piece white suite. 

Also, don’t underestimate the power of good lighting, or a well-hung mirror. The finishing elements can give your home a luxurious feel without you having to spend unnecessarily. Buying second-hand furniture can be a great route to go down too. 

#14 – Buy ex-display

Former showroom items can be purchased for a much lower price. So, if you have a specific design or brand in mind, it’s worth asking the company if they sell ex-display models. While you could save thousands, be aware you may have to fit them yourself, or that they may be sold in warranty.

#15 – Consider upcycling

Repair vs. replace… Does everything need to be brand-new? Upcycling is a chance to improve the appearance, or quality, of something, such as a particular piece of furniture. Many of these DIY projects end up becoming extremely stylish, all thanks to a fresh lick of paint. 

#16 – Keep it simple

Standard off-the-shelf items, or simple decor, are often cheaper options. Straight walls usually cost less to build than curves or angles.

Sometimes, keeping things simple and straightforward is the best option if you’re looking to cut costs.

#17 – Reduce plumbing costs 

Does your project involve changes to the plumbing? Moving drains or making a new sewer connection can be expensive, so try to use existing soil pipes where possible.

#18 – Sell things you don’t use

Selling things you no longer use, or don’t want, can be a great way to get together some extra cash to put towards your project. You may not get as much as you initially paid for them, but it can still be worthwhile. 

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Last Updated: November 17th, 2021