It’s often far more economical to breathe new life into your existing home than sell up and move on. If you’re finding your home is too small or is starting to look tired and dated, the thought of moving can be a tempting one, but if you haven’t got the money to buy your dream home just yet you’ll probably end up moving to a house that’s not too much different than the one you’ve just left.
Equally, you may have spent what you had buying a bigger house and have very little left with which to spruce it up. Whatever your situation is, there are some important factors to bear in mind when you’re planning a makeover project.
Get Your Budget Sorted First
The main difficulty householders run into with this kind of project is that they start work and use up all their available money before finishing.
Therefore, you need to work out a detailed budget for your project so you can see where you need to economize and make sure you have the funds to get the job done. If you have very limited amounts of cash to spare, you can either postpone the work until you’ve saved sufficient funds or consider a loan or other form of credit.
Using credit has some advantages because it means you can get the job done immediately, rather than having to wait. However, it’s essential to make sure you can afford the monthly repayments, and that you aren’t being charged an exorbitant rate of interest.
You should study your options carefully using the information provided on reputable financial services websites before deciding which is best for you.
Saving Money on Labor Costs
The most expensive element of this kind of project will be the labor you employ. That means you can save a great deal by doing as much of the work yourself as you can realistically manage.
It may end up taking longer, as you will fit the work around your other responsibilities, but if your funds are limited this is one of the best ways to save money. There are some cautions to this though.
First off, you need to have the skills to carry out the work to a good standard. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of getting a good finish when painting or hanging wallpaper – avoiding brush strokes and the art of cutting in are key skills for successful decorating.
If you need to do any plastering or brickwork, these are even more highly skilled, so unless you know what you’re doing it’s advisable to get some training first.
Plumbing and electrical work needs qualified expertise if you want to avoid potential disasters and stay on the right side of the law.
Choose your tasks carefully and stick to what you are able to do well – even if you just help out as a laborer, you’ll still save a significant amount of cash.
Saving Money on Management Costs
The most efficient option for managing a project that involves tradesmen and major works is to use a construction project manager.
Many builders will perform this task themselves if you wish, or you can employ an independent contractor. Obviously, this is a costlier option, but you need to evaluate the possible risks of trying to manage the project yourself, or even doing without a project manager altogether.
Delays, lack of organization, and incurring higher costs for labor and materials could all add up to the project being more expensive by the time it’s completed than if you’d hired a manager in the first place.
If you’re confident in your abilities, it’s possible to do an effective job, but weigh up the pros and cons before making your decision.
Saving Money on Materials
There are several ways to make significant savings on the materials you use in your project:
Reusing Materials from Your Home or Reclaimed Materials
Reusing such things as tiles, bricks, and wood that has been taken out of your home is a great way of saving money and reducing the consumption of new materials on your project. Anything you reuse should be sound and not have been damaged to the extent that it would be unsightly or dangerous.
You can also re-use rubble from anything that’s been knocked down as hardcore for new foundations, so there could be very little waste created overall.
Look for Sales, End of Line Discounts, and So-Called Soiled or Damaged Goods
These are great sources for products that can be high quality without paying full price. Tiles, carpets, flooring, soft furnishings, and bathroom suites can often be obtained at bargain prices if you shop around.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for posts on Freecycle that are offering building or decorating materials – it’s amazing what you can pick up for free. Just make sure that the materials are good quality and undamaged.
Shop seconds are often marked down because the boxes have got tatty, or one tile from a pack has been damaged. As long as the remaining contents are in good shape, you’ll have secured a worthwhile purchase.
Repurpose Old Fixtures, Fittings, and Furniture
It’s amazing what a coat of paint or new handles can do to a tired old dresser. There is a wide range of crafting materials for you to use in upcycling such items as old pieces of furniture, or lampshades and cushions.
You can transform dull or tatty objects into attractive new features with a little inventiveness and skill, and save yourself money as well.
Having looked at ways to save money on your project, it’s also worth noting that there are certain cost savings you could make that will turn out to be false economies.
Paint and brushes are a classic example. If you use cheap paint, it will be more prone to streaking and leaving brush marks, and you’ll almost certainly need to apply two coats.
Using cheap brushes will affect the paint coverage, you’ll get hairs from the brush constantly sticking in the paint, and you’ll find cutting in neatly is far trickier.
The key is to save money where it makes sense, but not to scrimp on the quality.