I can tell you from first-hand experience that DIY home makeovers and hiring others to take on parts of the project are not easy!
One thing I always use and will share today is a home makeover checklist for planning an affordable renovation. We use this checklist of items as we consider any room renovation and it can be applied to a whole home renovation.
Trust me, when you start renovating one room, suddenly you get the urge to do another and another! Getting what you want and keeping things affordable, can be very stressful. It does not matter whether you are undertaking a DIY home makeover or hiring someone to undertake the project on your behalf.
Now let me share our Home makeover checklist for planning an affordable renovation so you can plan yours!
Home Makeover Checklist for Planning An Affordable Renovation
Creating a budget for a project you have not done before is a challenge! Planning and research are required long before you knock down any walls or install anything new. Fortunately, there are steps that you can follow to create a home remodeling budget. These steps will help you stick to your budget without overspending.
Stories of Triumph And Disaster Before We Had a Home Makeover Checklist for Planning An Affordable Renovation
We’ve had projects go smoothly and others not so much. I’ve had contractors that fell through our ceiling (true story) and freshly painted walls bulge with water that leaked from 2 separate renovations going on!
Michael was in the middle of a huge bathroom renovation. We had just finished our dining room, added chair rail, and brand new furniture arrived. At the same time, Michael was alternating projects.
He was working in our upstairs bathroom (the kids) and the dining room, multi-tasking. Once the dining room was done, he moved full throttle ahead in the bathroom. We got hit a snag when it came to the tub.
The tub was much larger than we actually understood (this was on our bathroom planner, not our mistake). Therefore, we had to hire a plumber to get the tub fit and situated. The plumber could only do a part of the job on one day and another a different.
We were left with a bucket under a faucet, just in case. The bucket caught the drips, no issues.
The Story You Need To Avoid – Use the Home Makeover Checklist for Planning An Affordable Renovation
At the same time, the plumber was working, the electrician needed to run a line. They alternated days they were here. The electrician went up into the attic (all floored) and suddenly I heard, “I need a little help!”
I came out of the kitchen to find 2 legs dangling through my ceiling. Once I got him out of the ceiling and called my husband, we called for a repair to the ceiling. But the punishment did not end here.
3 days later I was in the dining room, unboxing dishes and I saw a BULGE on the wall. Apparently, when the electrician fell through the ceiling he had been in the bathroom and had moved the bucket (planning on going back in to replace it) but with all the chaos did not. In fact, he had somehow rocked the bucket from his fall almost above and water flooded between the wall.
The bulge was behind the paint. Michael used a pin to drain it all (it was huge) and then the paint all shriveled and came off the wall.
Lesson learned. One contractor at a time. No buckets EVER with any kind of water. A checklist to remind us of a time schedule and follow a calendar. We should have made the plumber do all of his work before the electrician. Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. Right?
What is the Cost of Remodeling a House? ✅
I know from personal experience, that it costs more to redecorate an older home than a newer home. I mean this should not be a surprise should it? Yet most don’t understand this.
There is no question unless the house has been seriously upgraded in the last 10 years, you will be replacing: plumbing, electrical, and any other systems that doesn’t meet the latest regulations.
Trust me, when you start into one part of the renovation, like electrical, you will end up in the plumbing. (think about curling irons, hair dryers, rechargeable toothbrushes, shavers, etc.
Your list of change-ups will add up, no questions asked. Consider the rooms you are about to upgrade. Think about EVERYTHING you will use in them and then plan for more.
Why? Once you are settled, you will purchase things you have longed for, unless of course, you are a minimalist. If you are a minimalist this article is not for you, lol!
There’s More To This Story – Kitchen and Bath
Personally, once we do any renovation, I do not want to have to revisit it with more than a coat of paint. This means, that we are invested in a great turnout. Investing upfront, hopefully, means, quality products that won’t need to be replaced again (at least as long as we own it!)
When you are deciding on the budget for such a project, it will be easier and more affordable if you prioritize the renovation projects by room. This way, you can create a budget around the cost of individual projects.
Renovating our kitchen, costs us beyond 20,000 and we are not done. This is pretty standard for kitchen renovations. Bathroom’s change-ups truly are exorbitant. For instance, our kids’ bathroom, fixtures alone, were upwards of 15,000 for the tub, doors, sink, cabinetry, and toilet.
More living space is generally a reason for renovation too. So for those lucky enough to have a basement, you will also be lucky enough to spend anywhere from 10K-30K (fixture and size dependant) on a finished basement.
From a bathroom to a bar, to a home theater, basements have become the new family room. For some, it means that no one will ever see your secret mess unless they visit your basement. On the other hand, it also is a place to host more friends and family, so you might be cleaning it up more!
How Much Should You Spend on Home Renovation? ✅
✅To get an idea about how much a home remodeling project should cost, you must first consider the property’s value. Get this online if you don’t know it. We just Google ours to see what the value is and has been. Don’t forget to search for your neighbor’s values as well.
The spend on remodeling needs to be spread throughout the house, never in just one room. Why? Once you do that room, the others will look dated. Therefore, plan to spend money across the house, not just vested in that one room.
Once you consider the value of the home, don’t spend more than 15% to revamp. Why? Your resale value won’t climb like that and you can consider it money invested and lost.
This means that you have to keep the cost of components such as Laundry Equipment low, while still ensuring that the project meets your expectations.
✅Bring In A Design-Build Contractor Early On!
Often, most homeowners don’t have an idea about where to start. If you are one such homeowner, it is advisable that you bring in a design-build contractor during the early stages of the project. This way, they can listen to your needs and guide you in the budget-making process.
I am not suggesting to have them contract your project. You will want to do as much as you can as a DIY. However, understand what you are getting into and how far the renovation actually has to go.
Is it going to be the whole first floor this year and the 2nd floor next year? Maybe your home is new and you never got your basement finished. Consider everything, then renovate!
Determining Financing Before Budget Finalization ✅Planning an Affordable Renovation
Before you even start coming up with a budget for the project, you must determine how you will finance it. Whether you are paying for it in cash or using a bank loan, it is always advisable that the budget of the project fits within the limits of the available funds.
Once you have a clear idea of how much finances you have at your disposal, it is recommended that you set aside an extra 10 to 20% of the available funds for miscellaneous expenses. ✅
The funds can come in handy, especially if something goes wrong, or anything ends up being more expensive than you projected. By doing so, you will have sufficient funds to complete the project regardless of what happens. (just as I described above).
What You Don’t Know, Learn About – Planning an affordable renovation
You should also consider hiring a contractor to undertake some exploratory, investigative work, or demolition to ascertain that there isn’t any unforeseen work that you may need to undertake. ✅ Bring in the expert. This person may cost you a bit out of pocket, yet, he/she will save you money, time and effort.
Let them assess here the wiring is, or find it with their cool tech toys. Using them, eliminates the need to bash a wall in to find wiring and support walls right? From piping to wires, and everything in between, know before you start. Hire a pro to figure this out and save money and time later in the project.
1. Prioritize Your Remodeling Needs ✅
✅ The simplest way to stay within budget when renovating your home is to have an idea about what you want to achieve. This involves drafting a list of things that you want to be incorporated into the project.
✅ After that, separate the items into needs and wants. Truly, a lot of people get lost in this process. Planning means knowing that you have wants that might not be able to be met right now. Therefore, tearing into a project in that room may not be budget savvy. Consider what you want and when it needs to be done.
For instance, it isn’t sensible to install a new kitchen counter, yet you have plans to change the floor plan or upgrade your cabinets. Simply put, you should do everything in the right order to save time and money.
In this regard, there are several pertinent questions that you should ask yourself. What is the end result of my renovation in this room? Is it for more space? More counter space or cabinetry or storage? Will I be changing the traffic flow or making things more accessible?
Make sure you compromise with yourself. When you want something that is $6k can you find one lower and one in the middle? Will the one in the middle satisfy your needs and withstand many years of wear and tear? If yes, compromise. However, if you can’t compromise then find other areas you can cut back on, you will have to in order to succeed.
Splurge when you can, especially on toilets, faucets, and showerheads. Never trim on electrical upgrades either!
2. Draft a Detailed Remodeling Plan ✅- planning an affordable renovation
After setting the objective of the project, you should draft a detailed plan that highlights all the expected costs. This plan will help you create a budget as well as communicating what you want to the contractors.
In this regard, create a spreadsheet that captures each segment of the project. This spreadsheet should also include the estimated labor and material costs. Besides this, plan on how you will tackle any unforeseen issues that might arise, and how these issues will affect the project’s budget. ✅
3. ✅ DEALING WITH CONTRACTORS 101
Request Multiple Project Estimates from Contractors.
Now that you know what you need and you can afford the cost of each item, you should go ahead and find a contractor who will be comfortable working with the available funds.
You should only consider local companies that have good reviews from previous clients, and after that, ask them to create bids for your project. You should compare at least three bids from different contractors.
Get A Contractor to Commit to Quote
When interviewing contractors whose bids are within your project goals, you should be clear about both the project and its budget. Be certain of what you are asking for and be certain that is the quote you are getting.
If a contractor understands that you intend to stick to a constrained budget, it will be easier for him/her to take you through extra expenses, time delays, as well as project changes that you should expect. ✅
Also, allow the contractor to present a list of addendums, with the prices broken out. So, if wanted bay windows and he suggests 3 crank out window in a row, that is an addendum/option. The pricing should be listed separately form your request, vs. his want.
Remember, this is your project, and you want it your way. Don’t be swayed by a contractor that does not want to do what you ask. I say, ‘Kick his ass to the curb’ and I have done that a lot. Get what YOU want and get that quote. Allow additional options (at least let the contract believe you are considering them) but have it as a breakout in the pricing.
Now You Committed, What’s Next?
Check your local online neighborhood website. Capture the ‘who did not complete, who did complete, who is a dirty worker’ etc. gossip there. Know before you hire. Your neighbors will tell the truth.
The neighborhood websites truly are gossip central, but brutally honest. We thought we had found a great painter. Then, after he left, and provided a quote and hogged up at least 1 hour of my time, we could not get him to return our call.
After I saw him bidding on other jobs on the local neighborhood site, I chimed in. Turns out, he was burning people left and right. Stacking work, never showing up, and only showing up for quotes.
What’s more, people were wondering why he did have insurance and maybe if he was learning people’s homes from the inside. Let your imagination go wild because the comments and concerns were, but I had to agree!
This man is no longer active in OUR neighborhoods because of over 50+ incidents like this. So, just keep the banter to a minimum, and check each and every person out before you hire them! Reliable, and insurance are 2 things you really must require of the contractor.
Next When Committing – planning an affordable renovation
Once you decide EXACTLY what you want, primer, specialized paint, and have the dates settled upon as well as hours of the day, have a new contract drafted. READ it, don’t skim it. Compare it against the old contract, and all the optional items.
Make certain the brands of hardware you have chosen a match, and that the prices are *Not Subject To Change, once dated and signed. I highly suggest building in a ‘late work clause’ because if the work is not delivered on time, money should be extracted from your bill.
Why? This will give your contractor the oomph to stay on time and show up every day. Never pay the full amount upfront. Simply a deposit and also OFFER to pick up as many of the products as you can, skimming the amount down to basically day rates to show up.
Contractor Discounts – planning an affordable renovation
One of our contractors offered to bring the paint, and he said he got a great deal on it. Then I asked him how much he was paying per gallon. Guess what, we got the better deal than he did because he was charging us a $10 fee per bucket. Thanks no thanks.
First, we asked which paint store the paint was coming from. Then, I spoke to the store, and they told us they would give us his discount. Well, his discount was NOT the quote he gave me on the pricing. Liar, liar, pants on fire, and it’s not good business.
From that point on, we chose and bought our own paint. Along the way, we have come up against a few other characters, but we explain it like this. We know what we want, we have the means to pick it up. You just need to show up and do your thing, your paint will be here and waiting. Thank you!
How to Save Expenses When Undertaking Home Renovation
The following tips can help you make significant savings off your home renovation budgets. Remember, doing as much as you can on your own will save you a great deal of money.
Floors ∙ Cabinets ∙ Lighting -planning an affordable renovation
Undertake demolitions yourself. If you are getting rid of cabinets or floor tiles as part of the project, consider doing this work yourself. This will significantly reduce labor costs. What I can tell you is that cabinets can be resold, and upcycled. Post them on your local neighborhood site, and even if you make $15 it’s more than you would have if you threw them out.
Order basic finishes and fixtures yourself since the contractor is likely to charge hourly fees to do the shopping on your behalf.
If possible, be the project manager. In case you need addition subcontractors for the project, you should interview and choose them yourself rather than letting the general contractor do that.
Carry out painting work yourself. Hiring a professional to paint one room is way overpriced. If some of the rooms that you are renovating need basic painting work, consider going the DIY way.
SHOP And LEARN FROM OUR EXPERIENCES
Shop around for used items rather than purchasing everything brand new. There are dozens of used and refurbished items that you can incorporate into your project to save costs.
For us, Michael always picks up the supplies. We prefer to look, touch and feel. Also, it is less likely that the contractor will have to leave. We had one leave midway through painting telling us that the paint was not right.
What we found out, is that he needed to go to another job for a few hours. He left me in a mess, with his supplies everywhere and no trace of him. Returning hours later and calling it a day, created me to question him. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone will have issues with him again! Think ahead. Be prepared.
If you are undertaking a home renovation, the easiest way to work within the budget is to incorporate DIY projects. This will help you save costs besides ensuring that you complete the project within schedule. ~ DANA XO