Managing costs on a renovation project can be challenging, and with the rate of inflation at time of publishing, the rising cost of materials and supplies aren’t making budgeting any easier. These factors can become particularly problematic when home improvement loans don’t cover unexpected expenses that weren’t factored into the original project estimate. Here are a few ways to keep costs down so that doesn’t happen.

1. Create a detailed budget

Do-it-yourself projects often cost more than expected, one of the reasons being improper budgeting. It’s important to list all expenses in the original budget, but that can be difficult to do when you’re a homeowner completing a renovation for the first time. Do some research, ask for professional input, and overestimate costs so you don’t fall short.

2. Develop a multi-step plan

Trying to do too many things at once can be costly and inefficient, particularly if you’re renting equipment or hiring outside help. You can avoid this by developing a multi-step plan with timelines and milestones. Once the plan is in place, stick to it. Estimate the cost to get to each milestone and try to keep the project within those parameters.

3. Don’t forget your permits

Did you know that failing to obtain proper permits for your building or renovation project can lead to severe consequences? Building without permits can result in fines, penalties, and even orders to tear down the structure. The additional costs from fines could easily exceed the project’s initial budget, and the added risk that authorities may halt the project altogether can ruin all efforts and investments. It’s crucial to consult with your local code enforcement office before commencing any construction or renovation to ensure compliance with regulations and avoid potential setbacks.

4. Do your own demo and painting

Tearing down old cabinets and woodwork can be a therapeutic exercise. Painting requires a good eye and a steady hand, but almost anyone can do it. Taking on these tasks yourself can save significant money on a home renovation project. They’re also jobs you can get family or friends involved in. As mentioned above, it’s always important to get the green light compliance and license-wise before starting a big project like this on your own so you’re not surprised by any fines or fees.

5. Ask local retailers about price matching

Building supply and hardware stores sometimes have price-matching incentives. Ask your local retailers about these and establish a good relationship with anyone who does it. Homeowners always need materials and supplies for something. Local businesses want to be your “go-to” location and may be willing to make a deal to get you there.       

6. Refurbish instead of replacing

Floors can be refinished. Cabinets can be repainted or stained. It’s not always necessary to replace these things. It may cost a lot less just to give them some TLC to make them look like new again. Evaluate this when you develop your project plan. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much money and time you can save by refurbishing instead of replacing. 

The Bottom Line

Home renovations look nice when finished, but they can be costly while in progress. Some ways you can cut those costs are creating a budget, developing a multi-step plan, getting your permits on time, doing your own demo and painting, finding retailers that price match, and refurbishing instead of replacing floors and cabinets.