While it’s easy for home renovations to cost more than you were anticipating, experts say it is possible to stay within your original budget.
WadeWorks Creative pairs renovators with designers to create a “full-scale, comprehensive design and construction set” that can be brought to multiple contractors to ensure they are comparing apples to apples when giving quotes. Wade says this is key.
Renovators should also pick out all of their materials and know exactly what they are willing to pay for different aspects of their project. “The general homeowner has no idea if two-thousand dollars is going to buy the lighting fixtures that they want,” Wade says. “So go ahead and select, and have an exact number.”
Some contractors, such as Oz General Contracting, source materials in-house and never use subcontractors, which allows them to provide a more accurate cost estimate. At Oz, after several design sessions, clients “will find out exactly to the penny where [their project] will be,” Ovadia says.
Make a Plan, and Stick to It
Wade stresses that renovators should give their contractors incentives to finish the job on time. He recommends putting down only 35-40 percent of the budget for the project at first, then adding another 30 percent when the plumbing, electric, and framing are in and the project is ready for drywall. Don’t pay that last 30 percent until final walkthrough, he says, because leaving the company with only 10 percent of the money left to make before they’re finished means they might get caught up in other jobs.
"Any contractor that wants fifty to sixty percent down, that puts you at a disadvantaged position,” Wade says. “Whoever controls the money, controls the job.”
Do Your Project Homework
It is essential that renovators do their homework, do their homework, do their homework, Ovadia stresses.
One way to do this, according to Little, is to make a list of every last thing you want from your renovation—before hiring a contractor, designer, or making any product selections. She recommends using home product sites, such as Kohler.com or Moen.com, to price out the fixtures you’d like rather than going by a third-party seller’s estimates. Then take your list to a professional who knows each and every product you’ll need for your renovation. Most importantly, she says, as you move through the process, cross things off that you can’t afford—and do not deviate from the list.
“If the plan is to redo the bathroom and take out a window, that’s the plan,” Little says. “Stick to the plan!”