Photography: Getty Images
Poor planning and too many “while we’re at its” are common culprits for going over budget during home renovations. Follow these seven steps to ensure that yours is a success.
Photography: iStock Photos
1. Foundation Comes First
Before renovating for aesthetic reasons, assess the general condition of your home in order to carry out the maintenance and repair of major elements like the roof, foundation, insulation, doors and windows. This seems logical enough, yet many people make the mistake of not paying adequate attention to this type of work. Putting money into a beautiful new kitchen, but having water infiltration and damage because you can no longer afford to repair the roof is not ideal! It is recommended that you examine the structure of your property twice a year and fix any problems before they become too large and expensive to repair.
2. Planning is Paramount
Make sure to check for and obtain the appropriate building permits, if necessary. Prepare a detailed plan including dates, deadlines and costs involved in the project. This is essential to properly coordinate the steps and manage your budget. If several rooms need to be renovated, it may be more economical to do them at the same time because you can group together professionals, such as the plumber or the electrician, and use only one dumpster for construction waste.
3. Manage the Money
Tools, materials, labour, decor...You need to calculate the projected costs before starting a project in order to avoid major surprises—though you never know what you’ll find once you open up those walls! So be prepared and set aside at least 15 percent of your budget for unforeseen work.
4. Decisive DIY
Getting involved with manual labour can be economical if you are capable of it, but be realistic about your abilities and limits because it can be very expensive to call a professional to repair work you’ve done improperly. Demolishing a partition, removing cupboards, cleaning up after the workers have left or disposing of the waste yourself (so long as you have the right vehicle) can help reduce costs. It’s also possible to sell what you want to get rid of, especially kitchen cabinets or bathroom elements. Try negotiating with the buyer to dismantle and pick up whatever he or she is buying, which will save you time, guaranteed. And it’s better for the environment than putting everything in the dumpster!
5. Dollars Down
Do your research to find a reputable contractor, and do not pay the total quote upfront. For major renovations, the average down payment is 15 percent. Sums are then usually paid as the work is carried out in order to ensure that the monetary amount never exceeds the value of the work done.
6. Look Long Term
Several months before you begin renovating, keep your eye out for discounts, promotions and offers that give you the opportunity to buy products at a lower cost. It is always more profitable to get quality elements, made with superior materials since they will be more durable. However, care should be taken to choose materials that relate to the value of the home. For example, expensive marble countertops may not be the appropriate choice for a small bungalow.
7. Worthwhile Work
The kitchen and the bathroom add value to the house as long as the embellishments or decorative details make sense. They should correspond to the value of the property (the price of the work must not exceed 20 per cent of this value) and it’s always better to opt for a timeless look with neutral hues if you’re planning to sell your home. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting bored or scaring away future buyers.
It's always better to opt for a timeless look with neutral hues if you're planning to sell your home.
Photography: iStock Photos
Return on Investment for Renovations
|Kitchen||75% to 100%|
|Bathroom||75% to 100%|
|Roof||50% to 80%|
|Expansion (adding a room)||50% to 75%|
|Adding a Garage||50% to 75%|
|Exterior Updates||50% to 75%|
|Windows||50% to 75%|