Things always get in the way whenever you’re planning to do renovations especially when you’re doing all the work yourself. Time is the biggest factor quickly followed by money.
If you are planning on selling your home you know it’s very important to do your research to find out what renovations really are money well invested rather than wasted.
If you put more money into your renovations than you really need to than you may not recoup the cash when it comes time to put that for sale sign on your front lawn. Talking to your real estate agent is a great start if this is the route you plan to take.
Real Estate agent
I have plenty of renovations in our house to get done even if we were planning to sell which we talk to our agent about yearly when we meet with her so we know if we are still on track with renovation ambitions. At the end of last year and the beginning of this year I told you that for this coming 12 months the plan around the house was to update the bathrooms. The upstairs bathroom and the ensuite need a total overhaul without fail and then maybe touch the kitchen if funds allow.
We budgeted $5,000 to renovate the two full bathrooms in our home although even this maybe a little on the hopeful side as many of you will agree. Keep in mind the budget may just work depending on what you need done. This is fine as we have the money saved up but we will work with the budget to see how far it takes us. An unwritten rule that my father always worked with when budgeting for any project that we worked on said I should budget in a further 10% for unforeseen incidents.
When planning something on the larger end of renovations, making a list of what you really want in that room will allow you to set a budget. If the budget starts to go way beyond what you expected then you may want to scale down your ambitions. The money monster can come creeping in faster than you can shake a stick because we start to want more and more in the space but it may be just be too much for what the budget can handle.
Your budget may increase if you need to go out and buy certain tools so keep that in mind during your brainstorming and planning process. I have over the course of time acquired a number of tools when they have been on sale in preparation for renovation projects like this but I still don’t have it all so I must keep that in mind when deciding on the budget.
I have a sliding wet tile saw, plumbing tools, various drill bits including a set of diamond hole saws for tiles. I like the look of the finished product to be perfect so a perfect circle around pipe work is more appealing to me than a square knocked out of the corner of a tile.
Bathroom renovation plan
I’m hoping to purchase two vanity units, two granite tops, two porcelain sinks and one bath tub as the enamel on the one steel tub is chipped and has started to rust. Re-enamelling the tub is not worth the cost as the process will cost more than replacing the tub itself.
We already have replacement low flow toilets ready to be installed. We bought these toilets a while ago when we took advantage of our city’s rebate program and managed to get two $175 toilets for the grand total of $50 for the pair. If you haven’t already made the most of government grants, contact your city for their list of current rebates.
Tiling, shower valves, sinks, faucets, sealant, toilet gaskets, stop cocks (or shut off valves) as well as new vanity light fittings and waterproof membrane for both showers are just more items that add to the ever-growing list. Soon enough we may find that ambitious $5000 budget we started out with may get eaten up by that money monster. See how fast the money can disappear.
Spend your money once
It soon adds up, so keeping an eye on prices helps me determine what I can do within each bathroom. It sounds expensive but getting someone in to do all the work will cost at least twice the amount.
This won’t be my first bathroom renovation either. I have done more than one bathroom renovation in my life so the task isn’t that daunting. If the budget goes above what I’m planning for on the basics then I won’t cheap out. I want to make the bathroom last, so spending good money on good quality products is the way I’m going to go.
Even if you do come to sell potential buyers will be able to tell if you put the effort into your renovations in terms of quality and workmanship if they’ve done their homework yielding you the potential for a higher return on your home. Why throw good money every few years just to replace something you could have put a bit more money into to make it last longer?
The wife has already picked out the finishes that she likes and how she wants the overall look to be. I have the task of converting that vision into the real thing. Consider looking at magazines for design ideas or visiting local area open houses for more in-person ideas or even a home show. It’s amazing what you can learn just from talking to the experts.
Remember every bathroom is different, some things may be impossible to either fit in your room or the fact that moving a toilet may cause even more work than you imagined. Keep the idea simple, over complicating the design can cause space conflicts. Adding in too many electrical items can lead to adding in more electrical circuits from the panel, giving you a sudden increase in cost and time unless complicated is what you want or don’t mind dealing with.
Interview trades people
If you’re unsure what services you can or can’t move than get a professional in because guessing is just not going to get you very far. If you can keep all of the same items in the same areas then plumbing and electrical work will be kept to an absolute minimum. Remember to interview potential trades people, get itemized quotes, ask for references you can go round and see. Insist on liability insurance, licences if required, permits and inspections, timelines to completion of work in case another trade needs to follow directly behind them.
DIY or Professional
If you can do all the finishing work but you need a professional to install all the electrics, plumbing, tubs and showers and so forth then so be it. You’re only going to be paying for a portion of the renovation to labour costs. It’s no good planning a budget based on you doing all the work if you can’t do it or try to convince yourself that you can do it.
Friends of ours were able to finish renovations to their entire home for under $25,000 where they did a majority of the work themselves but it depends on how comfortable you are with renovating because not everyone is handy, let’s face it.
You are no less of a man or woman if you have to call in a professional to finish off certain aspects of your project. That is why they apprentice for many years because it’s just not a career you can learn everything by watching a You Tube video or reading a book or article on the internet so trust their skills but ask all of the right questions to pick the right person for the job. Pick and choose what you plan to learn via social media and print to save you money but if you can’t so it consider hiring the pro.
Alternatively you can also take a basic renovation course at a local home improvement store. They usually run classes in the evenings for things like tiling, flooring installations etc. These courses can give a novice great tips and advice. Reading and doing are two different things. Most people learn quicker when they perform a task rather than just read about it.
Make sure that you have extra facilities before ripping out any bathroom or kitchen otherwise washing and cooking could be quite the hassle if hold up’s happen along the way. As we have two bathrooms one will get renovated at a time so making the other one available for us to use and therefore minimizing the impact of reduced facilities.
The last time I renovated a kitchen the washing up was performed in the bathroom sink and the cooking was all made on a mobile electric ring, which are sometimes used for camping. Make sure you’re prepared for things like this because services in the kitchen can disrupt the household, although eating out is always an option it can get expensive for your budget in the long-term.
Don’t rush renovations
Keep track of your spending with a renovation budget, but try not to change your plan too much mid-project if things aren’t working out. The renovation is going to take time, it’s not the same as what you see on the television, a complete renovation is not going to happen within half an hour.
Also, keep in mind that some renovations may have to be reported to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) which could affect your yearly assessment so that’s another thing to look into which may change the value of your home.
Last but certainly not least, take your time, have a little patience and take pride in what you are doing. Don’t slap things together otherwise the finished will look like a dog’s dinner. I should know, I’ve seen so many bad home owner renovations in my time even more so by going to open houses in Ontario.
How do you plan your budget for renovations?
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