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How to squeeze your budget for a renovation project

November 21, 2018 10:00 am by Upside

Anyone who’s ever watched Grand Designs or The Block knows that building projects are tricky to budget for. More often than not, people run out of money a long time before they run out of ideas, and compromise is a frequent feature of most renovations.

However, when you consider the cost of a renovation vs. new construction, there’s still a lot to be said for renovating (for example, utilities are already connected, you already own the land, and there’s an existing building to work with). The cost of house extensions will typically be less than the cost of building new.

Renovating a house – where to start?

First, you need to decide on the scope of the renovation (after you’ve reviewed all the home renovation ideas Australia has to offer, of course). Perhaps you’re doing a complete remodel, or perhaps you’re just updating the parts of the house with the most wear and tear: the kitchen and bathroom. Once you’ve done that, use a renovation budget planner app, or a good old-fashioned renovation costs spreadsheet to calculate your renovation costs per square metre. Don’t forget to add a 10-20% buffer in case of unforeseen costs.

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Getting plans drawn up

Armed with the results of your house renovation budget calculator, engage an architect to draw up the plans. At this point, it will be useful to decide what kinds of materials and fittings you’d like to use. An architect or builder will be able to advise on the most durable and cost-effective materials, as this is a key way to keep under budget. There are plenty of options to create great-looking finishes with affordable materials.

Get plenty of quotes

Don’t just settle for the first, or even the second quote you’re given. Speak to a range of tradespeople in your area to find out how much they think the job will cost, and see if these measure up to your cost calculator results. Of course, going with the cheapest quote won’t necessarily give you the best results, so make sure you ask for testimonials and do your own research.

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Stick to your budget religiously

If you’ve decided only to update the bathroom, and have run all your calculations via a bathroom renovations cost calculator, it’s important that you’re not tempted to get swept up by all the renovating-a-house ideas that you’ll inevitably get when looking through magazines. The same goes for deciding on your materials, appliances and finishes: you may be tempted to buy top of the range fixtures, but the price tag doesn’t always reflect the value you’re getting.

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