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Home: Renovating On A Budget: 6 Top Tips









We all got through phases where we look at our homes and become a little fed up and disillusioned with them.


Perhaps we have outgrown them - young children or elderly relatives now live with you, or that once great living room now feels too big and soulless. Maybe you now need a home office space or are sick of seeing toys all over the living room, so want a separate playroom. It can be tempting just to sell up and move house, but let’s face it, unless you build your own home, finding one that ticks all the boxes can be next to impossible. One solution is to use what you already have and improve it. I'm not talking about redecorating or changing the carpets, but a proper renovation - knocking down walls, adding walls, building an extension - projects that completely change the look and the way that you use the rooms in your home. 


However, while it is still (usually!) cheaper than moving house, large scale renovation projects can still be costly, and that is something that you are never going to avoid. However, it is possible to find ways of saving money and bring the costs down a little, and that is what we are going to look at in this blog post. Ready to find out more? Read on!


1.Consider whether you need an architect


There is no doubt that for specific renovation projects, you will absolutely need the services of an architect. However, not all projects require these services, particularly if it is a smaller-scale extension or an internal remodel. One way of getting around needing an architect is to do the following:

Draw up the plans yourself. This is something you will need to be reasonably confident in, because you will quite possibly have to submit your proposals to the planning department and building regulations department in your local council, and they will give you permission based on those drawings. You will also be giving these to the builders to quote for the job.

Employ a draughtsperson. A draughtsperson is an artist who will transform your ideas into more precise plans. If you choose to go down this route, make sure that they are covered by professional indemnity insurance.


Ask your building contractor. Most building contractors will be happy to work with you on plans, giving you advice from their point of view.

If you need or choose to use an architect, try to find one that is happy to work on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, which gives you the chance to use them from the full service to drawings only or consultation and project management.


2. Be your own project manager


Project managers can be a significant expense in a large scale renovation project, but there is no reason why you can’t do it yourself. It is a big role and one that should not be underestimated - it involves making big decisions and devoting all of your time to it, which can make it all-consuming. You will have to do things like arranging deliveries, mobile crane hire, and organise various contractors and tradespeople. However, the benefits of being your own project manager mean that you are entirely in control of what you spend on materials and labour and contractors - and it allows you to choose what jobs you do on a DIY basis and which you pay the professionals to do. 


3. Shop around for materials


Sourcing and buying all of your building materials, or your whole kitchen or bathroom from one place is usually the quickest and most straightforward route, that is for sure, and when you just want to get it all done, it is tempting just to do it and not look around. However, it is not always the most cost-effective; in fact, it rarely is. Shopping around pays off - there is no reason why you have to get all of your worktops and appliances from the same place that supplies your kitchen units, for example. Spend a little time researching alternative suppliers, and you will almost definitely save money. 


4. Get multiple quotes


Do not accept the first price from the first contractor that you go to. It is unlikely to be the cheapest. Get three at the very minimum, more if you can, and from trusted sources. Ask your friends and family and people in your local area (Facebook groups are perfect for this) to recommend people that they have used for similar jobs. It is also important to remember that the cheapest may not necessarily represent the best value for money. They may take longer, or they may charge you extras down the line.


5. Reuse old materials


As well as saving you the cost of buying new materials, you will also save money on disposing of the old ones and doing your bit for the environment at the same time. If you knock a wall down, use the bricks to rebuild another one somewhere else. Reusing roof tiles and slates in good condition will not only save you money but will also help your new additions to blend in with the old. If you do not need them, consider putting them aside, if you have space to store them, for any future projects or sell them or give away to other people doing similar renovation projects.


6. Do It Yourself


Rolling up your sleeves and tackling work on a DIY basis is one of the best ways to make savings when it comes to renovations. It obviously depends on how confident you are in your ability, and some jobs do need to be left to the professionals, such as gas work and electrical work. However, more manageable tasks such as painting and tiling can be done by most people, and you never know, you might enjoy it as well!


Your large scale home renovation is likely to cost a lot of money, that is for sure, but by making some sensible decisions, reusing and having a go at things yourself, you can save money!


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