Holding up the cover of an architectural digest next to our own house can feel a little underwhelming at times. Especially when there’s so much more that we feel we could have achieved had we invested a little more time, effort, and, most importantly, money in renovations.
The last point there – money, is probably the main factor holding us back from living in the dream house we’ve always envisioned. However, the idea that you need to spend a huge sum of money to live the dream is a misconception.
This isn’t to say it isn’t true, but being on a tight budget isn’t barring you from renovating your house. There are several home renovation tips to achieving the dream interior, decor, and aesthetic – all the while cutting costs!
Separate Your Needs From Your Wants
Credits: Renopedia, Wt + A Interiors
Before you can create a mood board and start planning out how you want a certain space (or the entire house) to look after renovations, you need to sit down and think rationally and realistically.
The fact that you’re on a tight budget isn’t supposed to stop you from wanting your dream house or even achieving it, but it is going to restrict you from getting every single thing you’ve ever wanted.
To start things off, you need to separate your ‘wants’ from your ‘needs.’ For example; you might have always wanted cabinetry in a different color, but cost restrictions keep you from having that instead of a fully functioning stovetop.
Disheartened? Don’t be! The whole point of separating your needs from your wants isn’t to keep you from crossing new cabinetry off of your list. Instead, it’s to motivate you to DIY them yourself. Why not resurface the old cabinets and repaint them?
Spreadsheets Are Your Friends
Lookup any home renovation blog online and you’ll find this tip jotted down at the top – that’s how important it is! Budgeting is an important, if not the most important, aspect of renovating any space.
You assess your needs and wants and start by creating a spreadsheet to list down costs and projects. Factor in hiring general contractors, electricians, plumbers, and any other professional service that might be necessary (you can’t go around DIY-ing everything).
A helpful tip would be to keep 10-20% of your budget clear from the costs you’re planning on spending. There are ‘hidden expenses’ that might take you by surprise and can drastically reduce your budget if you haven’t prepared from them beforehand.
Once you begin jotting down every project and the projected cost of it, you’ll be able to reevaluate your budget even further. A spreadsheet is the most recommended format for achieving this because it’s simple to keep track of and edit as time goes by.
Talk To At Least Three General Contractors
It is important to weigh your options and compare them side by side. Be mindful of the fact that the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best one. Once you announce plans to renovate your house, friends and family members will begin pouring in suggestions and you’ll be knee-deep in business cards.
Talk to at least three general contractors and inquire about their services, charges, and materials beforehand. The last point is fairly important because a number of contractors have materials saved up from previous projects and are willing to incorporate them into your renovation projects on a budget.
Additionally, homeowners are advised to go online and look at reviews from various contractors clients to get a better understanding of how they operate, the time they take and the outcome of each project.
Sell What You Don’t Need
There might be certain items in the space you’re looking to renovate that aren’t necessarily worthless, just not of use to you personally. Hence, it might be a good time to sell those items off online, in a garage sale or to thrift stores.
For example; if you’re renovating your living room, you might find artifacts or decorative elements that you don’t plan on keeping anymore. What are your options?
- Box them up in the attic and let them take up space elsewhere.
- Throw them away.
- Sell them.
Needless to say, your best option is to sell those items. Think about it, you’ll be making money even before the first tile has been laid. It’s a win-win situation all around.
DIY Where You Can
A budget can bring out any homeowner’s creative side – even if they didn’t know they had one, to begin with. DIY (do it yourself) is a great way to cut costs and get the job done exactly how you want it to be.
Rent materials from your nearby hardware stores, buy a couple of items in thrift stores or budget-friendly stores, and get crazy!
The best thing about doing a project all by yourself is the fact that not only would you be saving money in the entire process, but you’re also able to get the job done the way you envisioned it. For example; there might have been a particular way you wanted to renovate the kitchen top that you can’t seem to articulate or get out on paper. What better way than to do it yourself?
Important: Do not do a professional’s work all by yourself if you haven’t had prior experience in that domain before. For example; do not rip out your home’s electric wiring just because you think you know how to fix them. Only do high-grade jobs when you either have professional experience in the matter or have someone a call away for consultations.
Finishing Renovations (And Some Additional Tips)
Look For Returns On Your Investments
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Your home is your sanctuary and should make you feel at ease. Hence, most homeowners are quick to start renovating and would probably know about all the points listed above. However, a crucial question to ask yourself before you start is:
Will I sell my home somewhere down the line?
If the answer is yes then you need to start thinking from a completely different angle: ROI’s. ROI (return on investment) is a factor investors take into consideration when they invest capital into a project. You might be wondering what does that has to do with you?
Well, if you’re selling your home in a few years then the renovation project has to be such that it generates a return on the investment (money you put in for renovations. For example; by installing lighting fixtures from Light Vault, you’re saving yourself from having to change fixtures every so often. Additionally, these fixtures can be seen as added features of the home when you’re selling them thus giving you a higher selling price.
Wait For The Right Time
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There are two-time dependent factors to consider: sales and convenience.
First and foremost, do not overburden yourself by buying items well ahead of well-known sale periods such as national holidays or end of season sales. Not only will you regret your decision later on when you compare the price you bought it at and the price it’s listed at now, but you’ll also be skimping out on other areas you could have spent that money on.
Secondly, it is important to factor in a time when you know you’ll be free to either renovate your home yourself or oversee renovations taking place. Homeowners often complain of renovations being dragged on for years on end. The truth of the matter is: they’re the ones dragging them out for so long.
All it takes is to evaluate a time convenient for yourself and cross-reference it with a time you feel like you can begin renovations. Get the job done swiftly, efficiently, and right!
Avoid Taking Loans Out For As Long As You Can
Home renovations, even the ones on a budget can take quite a toll on your bank account. Thus, many homeowners are inclined to taking loans or credit cards out to finance renovation projects.
It is advised to avoid having a third party finance your project for as long as you can. Cut costs, DIY, and barter for as long as you can to avoid the hassle of paying the money back on a project with interest.
And there you have it! Five tips on how to renovate your home on a budget. Be sure to follow them right down to a T to save money, get the project done, and have it done right!
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t live in your dream house. The truth is, you can just whip out a spreadsheet, make a few calls, and polish up on your skills to get the job done.
So hold up that architectural digest next to your house and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.