Get the Most For Your Renovation Dollars
For the vast majority of home owners, renovation means finding the right balance between what you would like and the financial resources you have available for the job. Professional renovators suggest a number of approaches that
can help to stretch your budget.
Cost-wise renovations begin with defining clearly what you want to accomplish so you can be sure that you are covering all the important requirements. The whole household should be involved in the planning process – what is really needed and what would be nice to have? How will your needs change over the years? Discuss your ideas in detail with your renovator, who can offer sound advice on costs and approaches.
Look closely at what you already have.
Professional renovators can help you to discover the hidden assets of your home. For instance, home owners sometimes assume that they need extra floor space when maybe all that is needed is more effectively designed space. By rearranging interior walls, eliminating separations and installing larger windows, the renovator can often create a sense of spaciousness and light. Your renovator will look under existing carpeting and sheet flooring – old hardwood is often of high quality and can be refinished. If your old trim and doors are in good shape, they can be refinished rather than replaced. Likewise, you renovator may recommend that you resurface your kitchen cupboards instead of installing new ones.
Do the work in stages to suit your budget.
Phasing the work allows you to achieve the results that you really want without undue financial pressure. Your professional renovator will work with you to develop a master plan that includes time lines, the logical sequence of tasks and expected costs. Your home’s basic infrastructure should be sound and up-to-date so new work does not need to be redone in the future – electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems should meet current standards and your anticipated needs. Don’t forget to consider repairs and maintenance that may crop up in the meantime, such as re-roofing or replacement of equipment.
Product substitution can extend your budget further.
You don’t want to compromise on the overall quality of your renovation – it is important to do it right the first time. However, where performance is not affected, you can consider using less expensive alternatives – 32 oz. carpets rather than 43 oz.; ceramic tiles instead of slate or marble; 4 inch baseboards rather than 7 inch; and alternative exterior cladding, to mention a few possibilities. Your professional renovator can advise you on how to get the best value for your money.
Consider capital versus operating costs.
Water-conserving fixtures will save a considerable amount of money over time in areas with water-metering. Likewise, energy-efficient lighting, high-efficiency heating systems and electronic thermostats mean long-term savings. Professional renovators are up-to-date on the latest technologies and can provide you with the information you need to make wise decisions for the long term.
If you have the skills and the time, you may be able to stretch your renovation dollars by doing part of the work yourself. Generally, renovators recommend that you leave structural and mechanical renovations to the professionals, but many home owners can competently do their own painting, landscaping or other finishing jobs. Talk to your renovator about the effect of do-it-yourself work on scheduling and the renovator’s warranty.
Careful planning and consulting with professional renovators is the basis for getting the full value for your renovation dollars. Call your local Home Builders’ Association for more information.