Making the decision to renovate is very exciting.
It’s also very expensive.
When you’re talking renovations, whether it’s a single room or the whole kit and caboodle, you’re talking thousands of dollars. Whether that’s thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands depends on the size and nature of your project and how good you are at sticking to your budget.
But no matter how big or how small your home improvement, there are plenty of ways to save money.
Use our handy guide below to find out how you can reduce your renovation costs and still get a terrific result you’ll be happy with for years to come.
- Get at least three quotes
There can be huge variations in building and renovating a house costs. Don’t be fooled into thinking the most expensive builder will do the best job. Some people simply charge more because they always have and because they can. Others who are just as experienced will often charge considerably less.
The only way to know if you’re getting a fair price is to get a minimum of three quotes from three different builders, preferably sourced through word of mouth recommendations. Chances are your friends, family or colleagues also got several quotes when they did their own renovations and chose accordingly. If they’re recommending them, it also means they had a good relationship with the builder, which is a huge plus when it comes to renovating a house.
- Do what you can yourself
It’s time to get the tool belt on and wear your old painting clothes. Labour costs will account for a huge portion of your renovation, so where possible do as much work as you can to help reduce your builder’s workload and invoice.
Even the most unskilled home renovator can help get the site ready, clean up and learn how to paint. Talk to your builder about what you can do to help save time and money.
If you’re handy on the tools or willing to spend a day or two at your local hardware store learning some new skills, you can save yourself even more money. For example, buying and installing a DIY kitchen flat pack rather than getting custom-built cabinets installed will cost significantly less.
But be warned. Don’t get carried away and take on jobs that are dangerous, out of your depth or could potentially cost you more to fix than if you’d let a professional do them in the first place. In other words, don’t even think about doing your own electrical, plumbing or structural work. Stay within your comfort zone and only do what you feel confident and comfortable completing.
You could also call on family and friends to help with some of the easier jobs such as landscaping, fencing and painting for the small price of pizzas and a few drinks.
- Keep your existing layout
When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms especially – two of the most popular rooms for renovations – sticking with the existing layout will save you loads of money.
Keeping plumbing and electrical outlets in the same place equals big savings, so think long and hard about whether changing the layout is really going to improve your experience of that room. A few flash fittings and products at a fraction of the cost might just do the trick instead.
- Don’t overcapitalise
There is no point putting a high-end kitchen or bathroom or anything for that matter in an older home if you don’t plan on renovating the whole thing. Even then, you need to be very careful not to over capitalise – that is, spend more money on your renovation than what your house would be worth. There is no point in doing luxurious renovations on a home in a relatively modest suburb where its value will be limited by the price of other houses in that area.
Think about the whole house too and whether your new additions will complement or clash with your home’s existing features. Timber framed windows might look great on your new extension, but cheaper aluminium framed windows might be a better choice for a more cohesive look on an older home. Sometimes modern fixtures really only suit modern homes, so think about it before automatically going for the newest or latest look.
- Stick to your budget
Unless you’ve got loads and loads of cash in the bank, in which case you don’t really need to be reading this article, you’ll need to rein in the spending. There will always be nicer or more luxurious tiles, baths, showers, kitchen cabinets, taps, flooring, windows, doors, you name it, making your original selection look like a poor alternative. But top of the range items come with top of the range price tags, so stop looking at them and see the beauty of the products in your budget.
With clever planning and research you can still get a modern, stylish, timeless look (white subway tiles anyone?) without buying the most expensive materials and fittings.
- Buy second hand
If you haven’t discovered the joys of buying secondhand yet, now is the time. There are huge savings to be made on using pre-loved or recycled materials when it comes to home improvement.
If you’re paying full price for everything you’re simply throwing money down the drain. There are scores of people online trying to sell perfectly suitable goods for a fraction of their retail price. In this consumer-driven world we live in, a lot of people only buy brand new, meaning there are huge savings to be made for those willing to do a little hunting and gathering.
In our digitally savvy world, buying secondhand has never been quicker and easier. Whether it’s secondhand warehouses or private sellers, a simple online search can lead you in the right direction.
So there you have it – the six best ways to save money on your home renovation.