8 Practical Tips To Help You Budget On Your Next Renovation

  1. Don’t move plumb­ing and electrics.

Dur­ing a renov­a­tion pro­ject, it’s sens­ible to keep your plumb­ing and elec­trics in the same place as exor­bit­ant costs are likely to res­ult from mov­ing around your plumb­ing and elec­trical work. If you keep things in the same loc­a­tion and freshen it up, then you can cut back on costs significantly.


  1. Be clear about inclu­sions and exclusions.

When you get quotes from sup­pli­ers, you need to be clear about what’s included and what’s not included — there’s no room for grey area. Insist that your quote includes a list of all inclu­sions and exclu­sions. Also, be care­ful when nego­ti­at­ing for exclu­sions because what build­ers charge you to add in cer­tain items may not be the same amount of money they deduct to exclude it.


  1. Allow for variations.

Gen­er­ally, a builder will include a clause in the con­tract to allow or vari­ations or changes to the scope of the renov­a­tion work. For example, if the builder dis­cov­ers that there’s con­crete can­cer or asbes­tos halfway through the renov­a­tion, they would need to cre­ate a vari­ation for costs and the pro­ject timeline.


  1. Don’t get zapped.

Many renov­a­tions attempt DIY pro­jects with the hope of pock­et­ing some extra cash, but there are cer­tain tasks that should be left to the pro­fes­sion­als. Avoid any struc­tural work and don’t attempt elec­trics or plumb­ing — you don’t want to get zapped try­ing to change a power point.


  1. Know what you should be fork­ing out for trades.

The cost of trades­men will form a big part of your renov­a­tion budget, so it’s import­ant that you get qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als that quote you a fair price. While it’s easy to com­pare dif­fer­ent itemised quotes offered by trades­men, you should also do some mar­ket research to know what the aver­age cost is for dif­fer­ent ser­vices in your state.


With a little research under your belt, you will be able to spot the dif­fer­ence between a reas­on­able quote and a rip off. For instance, if you get a tiler in for a small job and they charge you around $45–47 per hour, then you’ll know you’re on the money.


  1. Don’t over­cap­it­al­ise.

When you start a renov­a­tion, it can be easy to get car­ried away and spend a little extra on fur­nish­ings, fin­ishes, designs or mater­i­als. How­ever, spend­ing extra in these areas will add up and you could risk over cap­it­al­ising which means it may be dif­fi­cult to sell the prop­erty in the long run. Typ­ic­ally, you shouldn’t spend more than 10–15% of the prop­erty pur­chase price on a renov­a­tion pro­ject at one time.


This is why it’s cru­cial that you ren­ov­ate ele­ments and areas of the prop­erty that will add value and appeal to future buy­ers. As a rule of thumb, avoid spend­ing your funds on low-traffic rooms such as the laun­dry or rarely-used din­ing room.


  1. Don’t take short-cuts.

It may be tempt­ing to take short­cuts if it will save you a few bucks, but don’t give in to this tempta­tion as it will end up cost­ing you in the long run. For instance, if you’re upgrad­ing a bath­room make sure you con­sult a pro­fes­sional water­proofer to pre-seal your tiles. If you don’t pre-seal them, they won’t be dur­able and you’ll end up pay­ing more to get them fixed later on.


Like you would with all of your trades­men, make sure the water­proofer is licensed so they can give you the right accred­it­a­tion to have it done properly.


  1. Shop around for finance

Depend­ing on the scope of your pro­ject, it’s likely that you’ll need to take out some type of fin­ance to fund your renov­a­tion costs. Before you begin the renov­a­tion, it may be a good time to con­duct a fin­an­cial audit and clean up any exist­ing debt that you have. You can do this by review­ing your credit file, con­sol­id­at­ing debt, or refin­an­cing to a more com­pet­it­ive home loan or credit card pro­vider to make your repay­ments more affordable.


When you con­sider your bor­row­ing options, keep an eye out for a com­pet­it­ive rate and a product with min­imal annual or ongo­ing fees.


A renov­a­tion or upgrade doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg. As long as you plan care­fully, budget with con­vic­tion, and are dili­gent in your approach, you should bene­fit from a well executed and prof­it­able project!


Bessie Has­san is the Money Expert at finder.com.au, Australia’s most vis­ited com­par­ison website.


Bessie Has­san is the Head of PR Aus­tralia at finder.com.au

An accom­plished pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sional, journ­al­ist and editor, Bessie landed her first job in pub­lish­ing while at uni­ver­sity. After gradu­at­ing with a Bach­elor of Busi­ness major­ing in Mar­ket­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of Tech­no­logy Sydney, Bessie quickly climbed the career lad­der and went on to work for a range of iconic pub­lic­a­tions with her widely pub­lished byline appear­ing in The Sydney Morn­ing Her­ald, The Aus­tralian, Marie Claire, and Women’s Health, among many others.

A stint in com­munity pub­lic rela­tions fol­lowed, before head­ing to finder.com.au. In this role, Bessie com­bines her interest in the digital space with her other pas­sion – help­ing Aus­trali­ans find better.

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