The Advertiser - Real Estate

Stick to your budget to avoid reno pains

- Juliet Love

CAN you do an interior improvemen­t project and avoid overcapita­lising? Rest easy, it can be done.

Setting a budget when you embark on the interior design of your home is vital. It’ll help you to avoid overspendi­ng and overcapita­lising, losing money in the long run. To have an effective budget in place at the start of your work, you need to detail and estimate every expense. Start by breaking down the costs into categories. You might have furniture, labour costs, materials, repair costs, window treatments, soft furnishing­s, flooring, profession­al advice, and even delivery fees. Many of these categories would then be broken down into further categories. For example, under materials you might have the cost of paint as well as new tiles, and under labour you would have the painter and tiler’s fees.

If you are attempting to complete the project yourself, it’s fundamenta­l to include every cost. Many people get trapped into overspendi­ng when they don’t include every detail such as nails, screws, and filler. I’ve also seen clients attempt to maintain a budget with scribbled figures on a scrunched up piece of notepaper in their pocket, but the most effective way to manage a budget is with a digital spreadshee­t.

As you progress through your project, you need to itemise and list every expense against your estimate as it comes in. The best way to do this is by having two columns – estimates and actual costs. This way you can keep track of your total spend before things get out of hand.

It’s wise to do your research, as often you can save a fortune simply by looking for the best bargains. Scour markets for second-hand furniture that can be given a makeover, and look online for the best deals. Often auction houses will have fantastic deals on kitchen cabinetry or bathroom fittings. It’s a good idea to get several quotes from any trade profession­als you need before you start so that you get the best value for your dollar. If you get a written quote, then the labourer is obligated to stick to that, which is reassuring.

Sometimes employing profession­als, such as interior decorators, can save you money in the long term as they have the experience to be able to advise you where to best spend your cash. You can also ask your agent for advice on what buyers look for in your area before you start, to save you money.

It’s important to also add 10 to 15 per cent to your estimated spend as there will inevitably be some unforeseen expenses in most home renovating exercises. You might pull down a wall only to find that you have a termite problem which requires thousands of dollars out of your budget to remedy. Good preparatio­n will remove that sting.

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