How to keep to your home renovation budget

Whether it's a few cosmetic touches or a series of major structural alterations, there's nothing like a renovation project to refresh your property. Yet while the dream may be enticing and the final outcome tempting, there are a number of pitfalls that can quickly turn the project into a nightmare when it comes to the budget. We'll share with you our top tips for keeping your renovation within your set budget.

Man calculating renovation budget

Whether it’s a few cosmetic touches or a series of major structural alterations, there’s nothing like a renovation project to refresh your property. Yet while the dream may be enticing and the final outcome tempting, there are a number of pitfalls that can quickly turn the project into a nightmare when it comes to the budget. With accepted estimates of suitable renovation budgets running at anything up to 5% of the purchase price of the property, it’s vital to keep a firm grip on the costs of materials, labour and installation in order to avoid costs spiralling out of control. And while it’s tempting to include a few luxury items, it’s also critical to be realistic about what you can achieve with the budget you have available.
Sergio Mesen of Bristol builders, Refresh Renovations, believes that keeping to your renovation budget is all about following the correct process. ‘When I meet with potential clients who are considering a renovation, it’s usually because they are keen to improve their living space and quality of life, rather than to sell their property for the highest price,’ says Sergio. ‘As a result, the first thing to establish is exactly what they are hoping to achieve. Are they looking to add an extra bedroom, increase their family space, improve their storage solutions, update their kitchen or simply give everywhere a new lease of life? First things first: we need to understand and agree on the plan for the project.
‘Once we have broad agreement on the objectives, we’re in a position to have a discussion about the budget that’s available. At this stage it’s not unusual for the plan to need some modification as homeowners can often underestimate the amount of budget that will be required for each component. I see this as one of the benefits of the Refresh process – creating an outline plan, looking at the feasibility and then drawing up a budget – as we are constantly keeping everyone in the loop and avoiding any surprises. At this stage we will also have a good idea as to whether the project will need to be submitted for planning approval, a process which can result in additional cost and extended schedules. Read more about acquiring planning permission in the UK
‘It’s worth emphasising that any modifications to the design are best made at this point, and most definitely before any building work commences, especially since a major change might result in the need to re-submit the drawings for planning approval. In addition, it’s only when we have a fully approved set of drawings that we can compile a detailed costing for every element. As well as a complete design, we also work with the client to create a full list of materials in order to include every final detail in the budget. This includes not only the cost of each material but also its availability as we know that budgets and schedules can be adversely affected if a certain material suddenly becomes unavailable at the wrong time.
‘Once the design and budget are fully approved, we then ensure that everyone has oversight of the construction schedule and book in each trade to ensure they are available to be on site at the correct time. At Refresh we take the planning, budgeting and scheduling very seriously because we know that the overall budget can be adversely affected by overlooking any important detail or incurring unnecessary delays to the timeline. Ultimately, we’re fully focused on achieving the best possible result for our clients, and we believe that the Refresh process enables us to do that every time.’

9 Best tips for keeping your renovation budget on track

  1. Understand your objectives – be clear about what you want to achieve, and why
  2. Focus on planning – break the project down into achievable milestones
  3. Draw up a schedule – an accurate schedule with a clear deadline for completion is essential
  4. Agree on a realistic specification – avoid the temptation to splurge on luxury items that only add vanity value
  5. Stick to the plan – changing your mind during the project is guaranteed to blow the budget
  6. Avoid creep – allowing the project to grow as it progresses can cause the budget to escalate and the schedule to overrun
  7. Manage your finances – whether you’re funding the renovation from savings or borrowing to meet the costs, you’ll need to ensure that you can meet the agreed payment schedule
  8. Add a contingency – in an ideal world every project would run precisely to budget and time, but in reality that rarely happens. It’s good practice, therefore, to include a contingency – possibly around 15% of the total budget – to cater for unforeseens that may arise
  9. Expect the unexpected – with even the most meticulous planning there is still the chance that something unexpected will occur, especially during a major renovation, so it’s helpful to be prepared to be flexible in finding a solution that works within your budget ## Find out more For more inspiration on how you can achieve a quality renovation within your budget, check out these projects or get in touch to book in a free one-hour consultation.
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