5 Tips to Properly Budget Your DIY Home Renovation

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Home renovation projects continue to grow in popularity across Australia. Not only are Australians increasingly investing in renovations to improve their lifestyle and the value of their property, but we’re getting involved, getting our hands dirty, and doing it ourselves, too.

While there are certain specialist projects, such as installing a swimming pool or building an extension, where you’ll likely have no choice but to call in professionals, as a nation we’re looking to do as many of our home improvements as we can ourselves.

One of the main motivations behind DIY home renovations is that it’s cheaper. After all, if you can do something yourself, you’re only paying for the materials and not for the time of someone else to come and do the work. Given the labour element of a renovation project can often be a large chunk of the overall cost, pursuing DIY home renovations means you can do more for your money.

Although doing home renovations yourself can save you money, it’s still important that you budget for your project. Even DIY projects will often end up more expensive than originally planned, and while you won’t be grudgingly paying an individual workman or a team additional cash for working on your property, you could still end up spending far more than you originally wanted to.

Let’s take a look at how you can properly budget for your DIY home renovation.

1.      Create Your List of What You Want

What exactly is it you’re doing?

Whether you’re undertaking a bigger project such as refitting a bathroom or a kitchen, or looking at doing something more simple such as fitting a new carpet or repainting the interior of your home, you need to have a list of what you want.

Once you have your budget figure in mind, give some thought to the following:

  • What are the “must haves” for your project? What items are essential to the success of what you want to do?
  • What additional things would you like to include, but that aren’t necessarily essentials?
  • Are there any luxury items that you might wish to consider if your budget allows?

If you’re renovating your kitchen, for example, your list might look something like the below:

What your list looks like will depend on your budget, the room you’re renovating, and what you like. If money is no object or you’re potentially looking to take out a personal loan to fund your DIY home renovation project, then some of your “nice to have” or “luxury” items might make it onto your “essentials” list.

2.      Determine the Exact Items You Require

Once you have an idea of your budget and have got your wish list completed, it’s time to whittle it down to exactly what you require.

The key at this stage is to think about what your finished project would look like, and how everything is going to fit together.

To stick with the kitchen example that we used above, if you’ve decided to remove cupboards from the wall and not replace them, then filler, as well as tiling or paint – or maybe both – will be necessary in order to make the wall look like a wall and not somewhere the cupboard blatantly used to be.

You might find it easier to do this part alongside part one, as you can base your lists around exactly what you know you need. This may influence your budget and the things you choose to buy.

There are lots of websites and apps available that allow you to plan renovation projects, too. Consider using these so you can start to visualise exactly what it is you’re doing. It’s amazing how often a design idea sounds great in our minds only for us to do it and decide we don’t like it!

3.      Bulk Buy and Look Out for Bargains

You may save money on the cost of your DIY home renovation simply by being smart and shopping around for materials.

The first thing to do is bulk buy if you can. If you’re planning on painting a number of rooms in your home the same colour, even if you’re not doing them all as part of this project, you could potentially receive a significant discount by buying your paint in bulk. It certainly works out cheaper to buy larger containers of paint anyway, although it’s a false economy if you buy a large container when you’ll only ever use half of it.

As well as buying in bulk, you can make significant savings by looking out for bargains, too. DIY stores will often have special deals on low stock items that they want to clear through, while it can often be cheaper to buy the individual components for a kitchen than buying everything as part of one package. If you have the time to shop around and source materials from different suppliers, you can get the best price from all of them for the things you want and save yourself a lot of money.

4.      Include All Potential Costs

Not including all potential costs is often where we can slip up and go over budget or worse, end up with no cash to finish the job and have our homes looking like something of a DIY disaster.

You’re bound to list the obvious things, such as the cost of materials, but think about whether you may need to budget for the following, too:

  • Van hire costs if you need to make an extra trip to the DIY store, or delivery costs if you need to order more materials following your initial delivery.
  • Labour costs if hiring a specialist is unavoidable. For example, if you’re re-fiting your sink, washing machine, and dishwasher in your kitchen, hiring a plumber is likely to be necessary.
  • A hotel stay if you’re undertaking major renovations to your living space and you won’t be able to stay at home during the work.
  • Pizza and refreshments for your friends if they’ve offered to help you.

Any additional costs will depend on the scale of your project, but remember to factor these into your budget on top of the direct cost of materials to do the work.

5.      Always Have a Contingency Plan

We never want things to go wrong when we’re undertaking a DIY home renovation, but we ought to be prepared just in case they do.

First, it’s a good idea to have a contingency budget. Have a sum of money that you can use should you have a problem or your project overshoots your original cost estimate. This allows you to make sure you can finish your project and cater for any unexpected costs, even after all of your planning. Just remember to treat that cash as being there if you need it, and not part of your budget that you’re going to spend anyway.

Finally, you should also have a contingency in terms of the specific products you are looking for. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to get everything you want from your list, but we’ve all taken a trip to the DIY store or ordered something online, only to be told it’s out of stock with no date on when it will be available.

As you aren’t going to be able to leave your kitchen units without worktops for six months, make sure you plan for different components being out of stock and suitable alternatives.

Funding Your DIY Home Renovation

If you’re looking for ways to fund your DIY home renovation, NOW FINANCE may be able to help you. Once you have finalised your budget, you can get your rate before applying for a personal loan, then decide whether to apply based on the interest rate you are offered. You can then enjoy your home renovations and improved lifestyle right away, while repaying your loan at a rate affordable to you.

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