6 Tips to Stay on Budget During a Home Project

Paul Kazlov

by Paul Kazlov

When it comes to renovating your home, there’s a lot more going on than having the money and hiring a contractor. From the conception of the renovation to its ultimate completion, staying on budget during a home project is always a challenge. Although there is no hard-fast rule to get everything right and under control, our experiences in the home improvement industry have enabled us to see firsthand how adequate planning and preparation can help homeowners to stay close to budget and enjoy the process.

copyright Andy Dean / Fotolia

© Andy Dean / Fotolia

1. Determine the Nature of the Project

There are many reasons people remodel their homes. Sometimes, it’s for improving its comfort and value. Other times, it’s for giving the home a new look and keeping up with the fashion. Understanding your goals will help you to plan your project around the results you’ve always hoped to achieve. Remember, home renovation can get really personal. The last thing you want to have is a house that’s renovated to impress your mother (and not you or your husband).

2. Set Priorities and Match Them with Your Budget

It’s easy to look around your house and want everything to go. Sadly, this is exactly the mentality that will break your budget (and account). As This Old House shares, homeowners need to find out the cost of their dream remodeling project long before actions begin to happen around the house. From talking to neighbors and friends to prowling the hardware store, making tentative decisions on potential appliances, fixtures and materials will help you to prioritize and align your potential spending to your fund.

3. Understand All Costs Big or Small

Estimating that a new 2,000-square-foot house will cost $200 per square foot to build is one thing. However, understanding the coverage and effect of the cost to your wallet is another. According to Houzz.com, too many clients agree to a project without identifying all the pieces of the budget. While the actual construction and building process may be the largest piece in your investment, fees associated with decorating, landscaping, moving, architectural and permit can easily add up to big numbers too. Homeowners need to identify all their potential costs and assign each a value, says Bud Dietrich from Houzz.com. “It would be a shame to finish the house but have no money left for landscaping or furniture.”

4. Hire the Right Contractors the First Time

There’s nothing wrong with shopping for contractors and strategically comparing prices. Yet, don’t just hire someone because they gave the lowest bid. Instead, it’s important for you to research the history and past work samples of the contractors. Check their references, and if possible, ask your friends for recommendations.

5. Hold Tight to Your Plans/Goals

Once the remodeling is in progress, stick to your plan with an unwavering loyalty. During the renovation, it can be tempting to want to renovate other areas of your home “because you are already in the middle of renovations,” cautions Homeowners Consult. Nonetheless, adding things on and taking on more projects will only increase your cost. As a result, it is always safe to stick to your original goals and save other projects for a later time.

6. Have Contingencies in Place

No matter how careful or detailed you were with your budget planning, there will always be surprises. This is why you should always leave some wiggle room in your budget. Just like you will need a contingency fund in your financial planning, your home renovation budget needs one too. This is why many recommend homeowners to include at least a 10% overage in their budget. Doing so will enable you to face unexpected costs with little headache.

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