Budget overruns threaten the contractor-client relationship. Controlling costs is a huge gamble when you’re placing whimsical requests without assessing what you’re paying for.
The ever-present dreaded reality of going over budget underlines all remodelling projects. Controlling the extent of a remodel—be it your kitchen or bathroom—rests on how diligently you work with your remodelling contractor.
In that spirit, you need to locate the sweetspot between affordability and taste. Remodelling budgets go over for reasons you’re either not aware of or aren’t dealing with right before work commences. Getting swanky décor done doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. Lesser expensive options are as effective if not more, to say nothing of valuable savings made from buying efficient and durable materials.
It is also not the intent of this post to convince you to cheap out. All that’s needed is a smart strategy outlining details of your remodel from design conception to post-remodelling maintenance.
You can cut significant costs throughout the remodelling process without cutting corners. Minor cuts and choosing better alternatives amount to big savings.
Let’s cut to the chase with how to remodel a home on a budget!
Arriving at Near-Accurate Ballpark Costs
Creating a detailed itemized list of materials, tasks, resource allocation, and time taken will help you fix your budget. Many a homeowner has lost dollars in leaving budgeting to chance or to a contractor who may not always be willing to go into the specifics of how a simple bathroom repainting job can include re-caulking the bath-tub, counter-top, and the sink. Every remodel that you plan should have primary costs and allied costs listed down to the last change in the look and feel of that particular area.
Generally, common upgrades such as a kitchen redesign or a room expansion by tearing down its balcony may cost anywhere between $100 to over $200 per square foot. Whatever the project, you’re supposed to research about its core services and cost ramifications to obtain a tentative idea of costs.
Verifying Contractor Experience Vis-à-Vis Desired Home Redesigns
Source contractors who’ve executed the type of remodelling you want. Experienced contractors are typically hard to nail down as they’re booked several months in advance. The key point here is to never rush contractor onboarding as being in business with “somewhat” experienced contractors can set you back thousands of dollars in reworks, needless to say, extending the completion date.
Look for customer referrals of the most relevant local contractors and pay a visit to at least three homes they’ve remodelled recently. Inspecting their work on different properties would reveal their work ethic and build quality that will help you manage your expectations from the beginning. Review online sites providing peer reviews of contractors you intend to invite bids from.
While evaluating contractor bids, be sure to add a 15% to 20% cushion for contingencies. The bid price plus contingency amount must comfortably fall within your affordability range. If it doesn’t, time to rethink your scope of remodelling.
Spending Efficiently On Materials
Remodelling a home on a budget places the larger chunk of the onus on you, the homeowner.
Many homeowners set out to remodel their homes by themselves, saving widely on hiring specialists for jobs that won’t necessarily contribute to the property’s longer-term accessibility and appeal. Do-it-yourselfers use recycled and efficiently produced materials and fixtures that cost them about half or less than half the cost of newly fabricated materials/fixtures.
You can look out for home donation centres such as Habitat for Humanity that operates over 400 stores in North America for salvaged materials costing way less than off-the-shelf home-center products. Using reusable materials may come with certain liabilities that your contractor may not be willing to assume responsibility for. It’s important to do your homework to understand to what extent your contractor will be liable in the remodelling project.
Redesigning Your Home Involves Redesigning Your Dreams
Staying open to possibilities will ensure you’re not moving eyes-wide-open toward dead-ends.
Many a homeowner feels personally invested in their remodelling and may turn stubborn about accepting the true cost of materials used and build process. Here’s where dreams and dollars part ways. Either you need to scale down your remodelling scope or optimize the budget in such a way that you’re availing the most essential services. Your contractor should ideally suggest cost-cutting methods by proactively looking for alternatives. Ensure that when you’re communicating at the bid stage, they’re open to listening to your concerns and empathize with your priorities. Here are some ideas for an inexpensive yet elegant home redesign.
Additionally, you can exclude permanent fixtures of your home, for instance, furnaces, lighting, sinks. This would enable a faster remodel without re-instating these connections and installations at an added cost. Another idea is to minimize the remodelling detail to include only major sections. You can also buy materials in partnership with your contractor to save up 20% of the costs since having discretion during purchase ensures you’re not caught off guard with higher-than-planned expenses.
Thinking Long Term, Choosing the Essential Over Elegant
Redesigning your home should always be with the view of the future property sale value.
Many remodels are temporary embellishments that may last a season or two. While the purpose may differ for seasonal remodels, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to get longer-term jobs done. For instance, if you’re planning to contract exterior siding to an exterior home remodeller, you should go for pre-painted walls that are factory-made and tested for harsh weather conditions. Done traditionally, you’d end up paying for twice as many paint jobs in the future.
For this reason, knowing where costs can be optimized spares you project snarls further ahead. Your contractor needs to be up to date with the scope of your remodel in every phase, whether they are costing materials or labour efforts. If you’re not well-versed with the various cost heads and pre-construction activities of a contractor, you may feel you’ve been bluffed into accepting unfair terms. But that may not be the case. From scheduling work to making site trips for monitoring, contractors carry out many administrative tasks other than actual building activities. This source explains the two major contractual terms influencing how a project is costed.
The best way to save on a remodelling project is to start early. Work backwards from your expected start date. Scour the web for top contractors in your area. Shortlist them based on peer reviews. Call up their past clientele to schedule friendly visits to gauge what type of work you need for your remodelling.
Start surveying materials and associated costs from trusted stores to make budget-conscious decisions. Avoid relying on contractor assurances except for the work they’re being hired to do. Seek second opinions from experienced acquaintances or family. You may even hire an architect for a design-only consultation whose cost would be much cheaper than full-suite services.
We hope these economical remodelling ideas fly your project off a strong base.