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Five things you need to know to keep your project in budget

July 16, 2019

Five things you need to know to keep your project in budget / How to budget for a home improvement project

The costs of home improvements can quickly get out of hand. So we’ve asked the property advice website HomeOwners Alliance for their top tips on budgeting for and funding your home improvement projects.

home improvement design

  1. Plan what you want

What is it you want to achieve? Is it a quick freshen up or are you ripping out the whole bathroom and starting again? Here’s where you need to channel your inner interior designer and start researching what it is you want. Buy the magazines, look online, steal ideas from friends and visit some showrooms. Then list the things you want done. The clearer you can be about what you want, from the outset, the more likely you will be to stay in budget.

  1. Get quotes from at least three tradespeople

You’re already in the right place for that! At Checkatrade, you can find a number of different firms or individuals trades who you can invite to give you a quote for your project. Send them the list of what you want and if they are interested, invite them round to quote. Show them images of what you are trying to achieve (Pinterest is a great resource) and discuss what is involved.

Get a few quotes and make sure they include the same level of detail. Question everything. Are they all quoting for the same quality paint, or is one using cheaper stuff to make their quote cheaper? What other products will they use? Is everything you want them to do covered in the quote.

Ask whether you will need planning permission for your changes or building regulations approval.

  1. Maximise your budget

According to our 2019 Homeowners Survey, one of the biggest barriers – experienced by a third of all homeowners – was the difficulty financing the cost of improvements. Ideally, you would use savings instead of borrowing for the work you want done. If that isn’t an option, identify the cheapest way of borrowing over the shortest time period. It may be an interest-free loan is the best option. Or you may find that extending your mortgage is an affordable way of releasing funds. Check out our easy guide to remortgaging and what’s involved.

  1. Source your own products

Having planned what you want to achieve and having found the trades to make it a reality, spend time sourcing the products you want at the cheapest prices. Before you buy anything, check if your tradesperson or builder can get a discount.

  1. Stick to your plan

If you change the layout of your design or what products you want, you may add costs to the project. Before demanding changes, sit down with the builder and talk them over and ask for upfront costs before they start.

Enjoying home renovation projects

For more advice on your home improvement project, the HomeOwners Alliance has a whole host of essential guides, from kitchen renovations to loft conversion.

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