For the vast majority of homeowners, renovating entails balancing
what you want and the financial resources you have available.
Professional renovators suggest a number of approaches that can help to
stretch your budget.
Set priorities. Cost-wise renovations begin with
defining clearly what you want to accomplish to 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 discover the hidden assets of your home. For
instance, homeowners sometimes assume that they need extra floor space
when all that may be needed is more effectively designed space. By
rearranging interior walls, eliminating separations and installing
larger windows, the renovator can often create the sense of spaciousness
and light you want.
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 may be able to resurface your kitchen cupboards
instead of installing new ones, or perhaps you can "recycle" hardware
such as knobs and handles.
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 can help develop a
master plan with proper sequencing of tasks, timelines and expected
Product substitution can extend your budget. You
don't want to compromise on the overall quality of your renovation.
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
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.
Do some of the work yourself. If you have the
skills and the time, you can stretch your renovation dollars by taking
on some of the work yourself. Generally, renovators recommend that you
leave structural and mechanical renovations to the professionals, but
many homeowners 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.