Five of the best… ways to save money on your renovation

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Over the past few years, for various reasons, the price of building materials has soared and with it, the price of renovating a home. Now that we are in the midst of a ‘cost of living’ crisis, people are turning to cheaper methods for renovation – or putting the big jobs off entirely. But if you’re looking to give your home a facelift, there are ways to cut costs without missing out. We have put together five of the best ways to  save money on your renovation, whilst still getting what you’re looking for, within your budget. 

Real estate agent with client or architect team checking a house plan

1. Plan your renovation with a professional

While the services of an architect or similar professionals may add up to the biggest expense, using one can save you money in the long run. Look for someone who has conducted similar projects in the past and they will bring a wealth of experience to the table, avoiding mistakes that you might not be aware of in the early stages. They will know how to create the look you’re after in the most cost-effective way possible, and will also have a greater understanding of timing, budgeting and the overall picture. Just make sure you are all aware of the costs upfront – for example how many sets of drawings (for more than one, the costs add up) and the additional assistance of helping obtain planning permission. Not using professional drawings and ‘just winging it’ with your builder might mean additional charges down the line, as mistakes are more likely to occur resulting in spending more money on your renovation. By researching and seeing what’s on offer you are more likely to save money on your renovation in the long-run. 

Architect designer Interior creative working hand drawing sketch

2. Be your own project manager

If there’s one place that you can save money it’s project management, as this is an extra that will usually cost a lot. Do bear in mind, however, that this is a full-time job in itself, so if you’re particularly busy at work or not the most organised person in day-to-day life, it might be worth skipping this step and getting in the professionals. Before you start, assess the pros and cons, plan your timeline and the budget, leaving a slush fund in reserve for any extra needs that may crop up along the way; this is generally inevitable with large building projects. By not hiring a project manager you can save about 10-20% of the overall cost, as you’ll be cutting out a contractor’s wage and their mark-up on labour and building materials. But this means finding and hiring your own trades – electricians, plumbers, for example – and ensuring they have everything they need to conduct the job on budget, and on time. Are you prepared to be at the beck and call of your contractors whenever they need approval on something?

Plans
close up of male in gloves holding paintbrush

3. Don’t settle for the first quote

Quotes can vary dramatically between different tradespeople, depending on experience and how quickly and efficiently they work. Get at least three quotes from local trades before settling on your choice, even if you’re pretty sure which one you want to work with. Always choose reputable tradespeople, either by asking family, friends and neighbours for recommendations (always the best way) or use a service such as Check-a-trade to see reviews before you commit to someone. Get a good idea of what is and isn’t included – some quotes may seem too good to be true! – and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions: this is your renovation project, after all.

Black faucet for water and white separate high sink on wooden pedestal. Banner loft style bathroom

4. Look for second-hand parts

Once the major, structural, renovations are complete, you can concentrate on the fun part: the décor. But don’t let this part blow your budget! Opt to be sustainable and economically-savvy by buying during sales periods or being canny about where you get your materials. It’s possible to find second hand, and sometimes totally unused, baths, kitchens, fixtures, fittings and furniture on Facebook marketplace or eBay, and reclamation yards also have great options like second-hand bricks, beams, fireplaces and counter tops. If you’re wanting the most modern finish possible, visit DIY stores and local kitchen or cabinet makers and enquire about purchasing display models – they might not be totally pristine, but the prices are often significantly lower, and use can add character. Save money also by limiting the more expensive elements, for example by only tiling where needed. Don’t forget, it’s not just the tiles but also, potentially, the labour you’re paying for.

5. Manage your waste

Similarly, manage your waste by selling or donating what you take out. If you’re ripping out a kitchen that’s not to your taste, but is perfectly usable, consider selling it on a second-hand site like eBay or Facebook Marketplace. And instead of paying for someone to pick up furniture or bathroom fittings that you won’t use, donate them for free to others who may want them. If you’ve got rubble to remove, don’t forget to factor the cost of transporting it off-site into your budget.

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