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7 Super-Easy Ways to Save on Home Renovation

Did you know that in Australia, it can cost anywhere between $20,000 to $300,000 to renovate an entire house?

Take a look at project estimates for typical renovation tasks, based on our survey of over 50,000 quotes:

Home Renovation TaskTypical Quoted Prices
Flooring installation$10,000
Window installation$5,000
Carpet installation$2,500
Insulation installation$6,000
Lighting installation$1,500
Electrical rewiring$1,500
Interior decoration$3,000
Interior house painting$6,000

If you are reading this, you probably want to save as much money as you can on renovation costs.

If one of our longtime customers, Cassie, was able to renovate her two-bedroom apartment in Sydney for just $10K, so can you.

Here are seven simple ways to save on your home renovation project.

1. Understand Your Renovation Budget

A budget is a statement of planned expenditure against the money you are prepared to spend. For home renovation, your budget should account for materials, fixtures, and labour as well as unexpected costs like replacing a stove, staying at a hotel, etc.

If it’s not a simple project, consult with experts about cost estimates; they can align your expectations with your existing budget.

The size and scope of your renovation may require extensive coordination and HVAC specialists, floor installers, gas engineers, etc. Note that the cost of materials may increase even before the project is completed. Make provisions for such predicaments and allow for flexibility.

Costs can easily rack up unexpectedly. Relocating the gas pipe and the stove ventilation, for example, are expenses that are easy to overlook. Other additional costs may include plumbing, wiring, cabinets, beams, and conduits.

If you have a tight budget, consider postponing your renovation to a later time, when you have more wiggle room.

Before starting your project, create a spreadsheet of costs and materials. Use this free renovation budget template.

Call around to get quotations for everything you need. Consult an authoritative pricing guide. If the expenses exceed your budget, adjust accordingly by seeking out more affordable labour and materials or altering your desired layout.

Remember to include taxes and insurance wherever applicable.

2. Pay Upfront

Q. Should I wait to save up enough money for a home renovation or take out a loan?
A. Always pay in cash if you can. It will save you from running into debt over unexpected renovation costs.

This doesn’t apply if you need critical repairs, e.g. the wood on your kitchen floor is exposed in some places. It’s best to prioritise anything that poses a safety risk.

The other exception is if you are renovating the house in order to sell. In that case, the renovation might actually fetch you a profit on the cost of the loan and real estate agent (work those expenses into the sale price).

Paying in cash will save you big bucks on loan interests. Even zero-interest loans turn into a real problem if you can’t keep up with the payments.

As much as possible, start saving for your home renovation in advance. The time spent saving can be used to refine your renovation goals and shop for better deals. Which leads us to the next point:

3. Get Creative with DIY

DIY is an effective way to save money for certain elements of home renovation. Even if you need to hire handyman services, there are still things you can do yourself, like preparing the area, cleaning, scraping paint off the walls, or removing mastic from the floor.

Use YouTube tutorials to learn new skills and understand design projects. There is so much you can accomplish with the internet and a can-do attitude on your side!

Borrow tools from your neighbours or rent from the nearest hardware store; it’s cheaper compared to the cost of buying expensive equipment you’ll hardly use.

Take your DIY skills up a notch. Instead of paying for custom cabinets, for example, look for pieces in your storage or workshop and put a rack together yourself.

Caution: Don’t attempt to DIY areas that require specialized knowledge or licences, e.g. electrical, HVAC, etc.

4. Recycle & Repair

Why replace what you can repair? Unless you’re renovating from a design point of view, you can always repair bathtubs, windows, sinks, and walls instead of replacing them altogether.

Another way to save when doing renovations is by reusing available materials like cabinetry. Reface your cabinet doors instead of replacing them, for example. This simple approach involves adding new doors, drawers, and applying veneers to give them a whole new look.

kitchen renovation

Image from flickr by Brad Holt

5. Look Out for Offers

With bulk purchases, you can wait for offers on large ticket materials and normally-expensive household items like appliances.

Products are incredibly cheap during Black Friday; you can buy power tools, drills, drivers, saws, and all the renovation equipment you will need at a heavily discounted price. Also: look out for end-of-summer sales on patio furniture.

Make use of comparison websites to point you towards the best shops for deals on things like paint and furniture. If you make bulk purchases, you may be able to get your products delivered right to your door for free.

Do a little research on upcoming offers in your area and save yourself money.

6. Work with Professionals

If you need an extra hand, enlist the help of others. Hiring professionals will take you from concept to completion and minimize future maintenance costs.

Take your time when shopping for a professional. If you have a really low budget, stick to general renovations that a handyman can manage. For a medium budget, you will be able to afford a crew for painting, veneering, floor work, and drywalling. If you’re going all out, you can hire architects, designers, contractors, cleaners, and everyone you need so you can put your feet up and have complete peace of mind.

Always be smart in your hiring and look out for online reviews and positive recommendations.

7. Don’t Rush Things

Time is an important consideration, especially if you are planning a major renovation. There’s a lot to consider and coordinate, and the process can get overwhelming.

Renovating the house all at once may not be a good idea; the project could drag on for many years due to unforeseen circumstances. It gets even more complicated if you can’t find long-term accommodation elsewhere.

Schedule the renovation over a feasible time period, starting with priority areas and moving towards more decorative, design elements later. From a budget perspective, starting with one room is always a smart decision since you can make adjustments as you go along.

Don’t waste time and money if you are unsure. If you find yourself in over your head on a renovation, go back to the drawing board with an expert who can help you plan effectively. Measure twice, cut once.

Home renovations are exciting but they come with costs, some of which are avoidable. The best advice is to plan, stay on budget, and take your time. If you have someone trustworthy to do the job, it will cost you less in the long run.