Planning and budget tips for home extension and renovation

1. Have a realistic budget

Without a doubt, the beginning of a successful extension and renovation is always your budget. Never under estimate the money and the time it takes to complete a project.
Get advice from many professionals. Including builders, designers, architects, contractors. Get a variety of views to ensure that your project is feasible. Especially within the timeframe and budget you envisioned. Divide the different portions of your project and apply your budget individually. This is to avoid potential pitfalls and surprises. Always have a buffer budget to avoid being under budget. I would suggest at least 20% – 30%. Especially for renovations and extensions. You never know what surprises your home can reveal halfway through the extension.

2. Secure funding

Extending and renovating your home needs a healthy budget. Most of us will be required to take out a mortgage. It is always important to have some money set aside from the beginning. This is a safeguard against your project, in case you aren’t able to complete it. Before you break ground and start building, ensure you have the funds to see this project from start to finish. Funding from a bank for an extension and renovation is harder to get approved. They don’t have the confidence that your home will uphold the market value. Hence, they can stop your funding eventually. Hence, they will never offer you the full amount upfront.
They will need a well-documented cost breakdown of the different stages of construction. The bank will then get an appraiser to estimate the value of your home and the works you want to be done based on your plans and documentation. The bank will then lend you money in portions. They will assess the project at every stage and ensure that you and your builder are on track before they fund you. If there is some miscalculation and there isn’t enough money left over to complete the project. It will come to a stop. Do NOT rush into your project. Do your research and ensure you have the extra 30% buffer money.

3. Over-Estimating your own skills

If you have some building experience, it’s tempting to assume that you can work a large portion of the extension and renovation by yourself. Therefore, you may conclude that your budget could be met or even the build might be completed sooner. Calculating your own labour can be a huge mistake and have disastrous results. Weekends go by much faster and working after you come home from work can lead you to burnout. Mistakes and injuries can occur due to tiredness and not to forget cost overruns.
You may be able to take a leave of absence from work to finish off tasks that may be beyond your experience. For example, painting your walls. We can all do that, pick up a roller and start painting. We wouldn’t be as quick as a professional and we wouldn’t be as good either. Now apply that to something like plumbing or installing cabinet work. There are learning curves that you will need to learn and quickly. What happens when you make a mistake? You don’t install that pipe right and it bursts in the future? Are you better off staying at your job to generate that income that will fund the plumber to do his job?

4. Big or small?

Evaluate your needs against your wants. Work with a designer who understands the value of a good-sized home. Professionals who are experienced in compact designs will always avoid including wasted and unused space in your design. Designing those traditional big entrances are a design from the past generation. Think of all those homes, where there are grand entrances that are often under-utilized. Designing a smaller, functioning entryway that flows will give you the same quality of life as a bigger home. Having a functioning home that flows properly will help you achieve your dreams sooner. It will also be more affordable.

5. Detailed Material list

Write up a detailed list of all the compulsory materials. Ensure you have the prices and the names of the stores where you can buy them. Don’t leave your materials to the last minute as sometimes some of these products may not be available. Especially with good quality or hard to find materials.
Buying the materials by yourself is optional. Building contractors usually get discounts due to their relationships with bigger suppliers. Smaller, more specific products will probably cost the same either way.

6. Finish everything and then move in

When extending and renovating completion dates can change easily. You may not be able to move in when you planned. Always have a buffer period so you are taken care of until your home is ready. You may be staying in the home while the works are going on. Fully complete the works, down to the last coat of paint before moving in. It’s harder to finish up once you’ve moved in. It becomes a huge logistical puzzle when you have to keep moving and covering your furniture while you finish up the works. Did you know that more than 50% of people never finish the interior of their homes once they move in? Most of the time it is due to lack of time. Or sometimes it is because whatever is still left to be done is usually hidden and then often gets forgotten.

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