Did someone ever tell you that you cannot understand until you go through it?
Well, I decided that if I wanted to fully understand what my clients are going through during a renovation, then I needed to try it myself. Of course, that's not the only reason I'm doing it, but since we are, why not make the most out of it?
I decided to document my process from start to finish, step by step so that you can understand why things happen in a specific order and why it takes so long.
Let’s be clear: I do not intend to scare anyone; I want you to know what to expect every step of the way and how to deal with the unexpected. Preparation is the key to any successful project, and I want you to be prepared.
I want to start from the very beginning since we really need to dive deep into the pains of a reno (and hopefully joy at the end). Today, we're going to talk about the BUDGET!
First, I get it; it's not easy to talk about money with a stranger but remember, we are on your side, and we can't do our job well if you are not totally transparent with us. Here are 4 tips to budget for a flawless renovation.
1. Establish a Contingency.
When you decide to renovate, the very first thing to do is to think about how much you are willing to spend, the maximum that you will be comfortable with, and then take 10-15% off that amount (if you are renovating an old house even 20%). That amount will be your contingency (this is just a recommended amount). I'm not going to sugarcoat this: there are so many things that can go wrong in a reno that you need to be able to deal with. Nobody knows what might be hiding inside your walls. A contingency is like a soft cushion under your fall: it will help you not to get hurt.
2. Set Priorities.
Before setting your budget, determine what is most important to you. Is it a specific room or area of your home that needs more attention? Do you want to focus on functionality or aesthetics? Knowing your priorities will help you allocate your budget in the most effective way.
I see this happening very often: we always shoot for the stars, and when we receive the quote from the contractor, we start cutting like Edward Scissorhands! And don't worry, this happened to me too.... and I do this for a living! It's not that I don't know how much things cost. Still, when you are in the planning phase, it's hard to have the whole picture and to estimate what the total spending will be (And that's why I made a FREE RENOVATION CHECKLIST that you can download here, to have an idea of what a budget should include - check our resources tab!).
I had my priorities very clear, and instead of removing all the functional accessories that I wanted for my kitchen (the kitchen is my realm!), we decided to postpone the bathroom renovation to next year and focus only on the kitchen and main floor. And that is okay! We are going to live there for a while; our bathroom isn't pretty, but it's functioning, so there is no rush to renovate it.
Always consider how long you will live in that place when you set your priorities. Is this a makeup reno because you want to sell it soon, or are you planning to live there for a while?
3. Get Quotes.
You should get quotes from a few different contractors; we suggest a minimum of 3.
Remember, a contractor can only give you a rough estimate based on the square footage, the type of materials you want and the project's complexity.
Make sure you are comparing apples to apples: if a quote is significantly lower compared to the others, it means something is missing in it 100%. Ensure you understand everything included in the quote, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Your contractor should be able to explain everything to you in detail.
The best way to have an accurate estimate is to complete a design before you get a quote to avoid surprises (Yes, this is a hint to hire us;)).
If you are not going to hire a designer, and I promise we are cool with it, have inspirations or a wish list ready.
Do your research; knowing what type of products you are going to use will help you get a more accurate budget (again, is this a quick fix or a forever home?).
4. Stick to Your Budget.
It's easy to get carried away during a renovation and overspend. It's essential to stick to your budget to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. Don't make any changes unless absolutely necessary, and always check with your contractor before making any alterations to the original plan.
Renovating is not a simple task: it is a crucial investment that requires careful consideration and planning to ensure you get the most out of your money.